RICHLANDS, ONSLOW COUNTY - An Onslow County woman who escaped prison just months before her scheduled release is back in custody, this time in a high-security correctional center in Raleigh.
Deputies arrested 30-year-old Misty Dawn Gardner Monday afternoon at her mother's home in Richlands. Earlier that day, at about 9 a.m., Gardner escaped from Fountain Correctional Center for Women in Rocky Mount, according to the Department of Public Safety.
Officials said they believe Gardner may have scaled a fence to escape.
According to investigators, Gardner had prearranged for a friend to pick her up and drive her to her mother's house. Officials said the friend was not aware that Gardner had just escaped prison, and thought she had been released. That friend was instrumental in finding Gardner, said investigators.
Gardner only had about seven hours of freedom before she was arrested, deputies said. Although Gardner was captured at her mother's home, the mother was not present and was not believed to be involved, investigators added.
Gardner is serving about two years in prison for driving while intoxicated, officials said. She was scheduled for release in December.
Keith Acree with the Department of Corrections said that there had been eight escapes across the state prison system last year.
"Escape is a very serious infraction," Acree said. "It's a criminal charge as well. The Department of Public Safety and law enforcement all across the state take it very seriously."