Missing inmate found in jail ductwork

Had been missing for days
February 21, 2008 3:17:14 PM PST
Authorities rescued a man found in an air duct in the Middlesex County Jail in North Brunswick. He is the inmate who had been missing for the past 48 hours. Eyewitness News is told the man was discovered in an air duct inside the 250,000-square-foot jail just before 8 a.m. this morning. Rescue workers pulled him through the roof of the facility.

Officials say the man is 20-year-old Timothy Petties, unaccounted for when Middlesex County corrections officers conducted a head count of the jail at 10 a.m. Tuesday. Since a thorough search of the jail revealed no obviously way of escape, jail officials suspected that Petties never left the facility.

He was apparently found with the use of thermal-imaging camera, which reads body heat through walls and vents.

Petties, whose last known address was in Elizabeth, was awaiting trial on aggravated assault charges from New Brunswick. He was facing multiple charges and was being held on $310,000 bail at the time of his escape, according to police.

He was arrested in Piscataway in August and charged with simple assault from a domestic dispute, according to police in that township.

According to reports, Petties also was charged in North Brunswick with simple assault and resisting arrest, though details on those charges were not available. He additionally had outstanding warrants in Piscataway, Franklin Township in Somerset County and Union Township in Union County after he failed to appear for municipal court hearings, authorities said.