HENDERSON, Kentucky – Authorities in Henderson have announced the discovery of Bradley Gillespie’s lifeless body in the Ohio River, putting an end to a relentless five-day pursuit that ensued after his daring escape from Allen-Oakwood Correctional Institution. The Henderson Police Department received a crucial tip from a vigilant boater, leading them to Gillespie’s remains in the river.
During a press conference held by Henderson Police Chief Sean McKinney on Sunday evening, he expressed his belief that this discovery marks the closure of the extensive manhunt. McKinney conveyed his gratitude to the local community for their unwavering support and assistance throughout the search, while reminding everyone to approach this somber outcome with sensitivity and respect.
The identification of Gillespie’s body was confirmed by multiple agencies in Henderson who responded promptly to the scene. However, the exact time and cause of his demise have yet to be determined. An autopsy is scheduled for Tuesday to shed light on these crucial details.
McKinney shared that preliminary observations suggest the level of decomposition aligns with Gillespie being submerged in the water for approximately four to five days. However, conclusive findings will be provided by the autopsy.
Although relief washed over the community knowing that Gillespie’s whereabouts have been resolved, McKinney urged against celebrating a loss of life in light of the circumstances. The incident serves as a reminder of the seriousness and gravity of such events.
Gillespie, aged 50, along with fellow inmate James Lee, aged 47, successfully executed their escape from the Lima prison by concealing themselves inside a dumpster, according to the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections. After their absence was discovered on Tuesday morning, law enforcement agencies initiated an extensive search for the fugitives. Gillespie and Lee had stolen a vehicle in Auglaize County, eventually making their way to Henderson in western Kentucky by Wednesday morning.
Upon sighting the vehicle believed to be connected to the escaped inmates, Henderson officers attempted to initiate a traffic stop. Lee, the driver, led the police on a brief pursuit before crashing the vehicle, forcing the duo to flee on foot. While Lee was swiftly apprehended, Gillespie managed to evade capture, leading to an intensive manhunt throughout the remainder of the week. Law enforcement agencies from Kentucky, Ohio, and Indiana, along with the U.S. Marshal’s Office and the U.S. Coast Guard, collaborated in the search efforts.
A 2016 article published by The Village Reporter stated: Bradley Gillespie, 43, of Defiance heard his sentencing for his part in the murders of former Montpelier graduate Hannah Fischer and her boyfriend, Frank Tracey Jr., in a Paulding County courtroom on Monday, October 31, 2016.
The bodies of Fischer and Tracey were both found, several days and several miles apart, in February, 2016. The investigation quickly led authorities to Gillespie, who has maintained his innocence since his arrest. A grand jury did not agree, and he was convicted on two counts of murder.
Gillespie has been sentenced to two consecutive 15 to life prison terms as well as a mandatory two years for gun specifications. His time will be served through the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, and he was given credit for time served since his arrest. Gillespie continued to maintain his innocence throughout the sentencing and says that he will appeal the verdict.