Elizabeth City woman escapes custody while being treated at hospital

Photo Courtesy: WITN News
Photo Courtesy: WITN News

ELIZABETH CITY, N.C. (WITN) —  Police in Elizabeth City captured an inmate who escaped Wednesday afternoon. Officers say they found 29-year-old Heather Burton hiding under a bed in a home on Pear Tree Road around 1:45 p.m. They took her into custody without incident.

Washington County Sheriff John Barnes says Heather Burton, of Elizabeth City, had a court appearance on Wednesday, and when leaving the courthouse she fell in a stairwell. The sheriff says Burton suffered abrasions on her knee and ankle and was taken to the Washington County Hospital by ambulance.

Barnes says while at the hospital the 29-year-old managed to slip away through a bathroom as doctors were about to X-ray her injuries. All her metal restraints were removed, and the deputy left the room while the X-ray was being taken.

“It’s a two-door bathroom,” said the sheriff. “You can go in from two different rooms in the emergency room, so what happened is she went in through the bathroom — out the door into another area of the emergency room, then out the emergency room front door before she was noticed.”

Burton stole a black Chevrolet S-10 pickup truck from a nearby service garage, according to the sheriff.

Barnes says she has family in Washington and Pasquotank Counties and acquaintances in Tyrrell County.

Burton is 5’1″ tall, weighs 115 pounds, has blonde hair, blue eyes and was last wearing an orange jumpsuit.

Authorities say there has already been a possible sighting of the woman, and they believe she’s heading to Virginia.

Burton, who has pending charges in Pitt County, was in court Wednesday morning in Washington County on a probation violation offense.