Sheriff: Felon escapes county jail by switching paperwork, wearing COVID-19 mask

Jahquez Scott (left) and Quintin Henderson | Cook County Sheriff’s OFfice

Cook County sheriff’s deputies are on the hunt for a paroled felon who allegedly escaped from custody by switching places with another man after they appeared in bond court Saturday. The ruse worked in part because the men were wearing face masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19, according to a source.

A sheriff’s office spokesperson said 28-year-old Quintin Henderson — charged with a narcotics violation — was about to be released from custody on a recognizance bond when another detainee promised to pay him $1,000 to switch identities.

The other prisoner, identified by the sheriff’s office as 21-year-old Jahquez Scott, had been ordered held in lieu of $50,000 bail for unlawful use of a weapon by a felon on parole. State records show Scott was paroled in December 2018 after he served half of two concurrent five-year terms for aggravated battery of a police officer and aggravated battery of a government employee. Corrections officials placed him on absconder status. 

On Tuesday morning, Scott posted a photo to Facebook that includes a note that says, “Congratulations. Your prayer has been answered.”

Scott posted this photo to Facebook on Tuesday morning. | Facebook

Scott made his proposal to Henderson as the two waited in line for processing at the county jail after bond court, according to authorities. When jail staff called Henderson’s name for processing, Scott allegedly approached them with Henderson’s paperwork while Henderson stayed in line. 

Scott has distinctive tattoos on both of his cheeks that Henderson does not have. But those may have been obscured by a face mask that bond court defendants are required to wear during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Scott reportedly went through the discharge process posing as Henderson, picked up Henderson’s personal belongings from the jail staff, and walked out. He was long gone by the time Henderson walked up to the intake staff and workers realized what had happened.

The sheriff’s office is conducting an internal investigation, a spokesperson said. 

Anyone with information about Scott’s whereabouts can contact the sheriff’s office at 773-674-8477.

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CWBChicago was created in 2013 by five residents of Wrigleyville and Boystown who had grown disheartened with inaccurate information that was being provided at local Community Policing (CAPS) meetings. Our coverage area has expanded since then to cover Lincoln Park, River North, The Loop, Uptown, and other North Side Areas. But our mission remains unchanged: To provide original public safety reporting with better context and greater detail than mainstream media outlets. Our editorial email address is news@cwbchicago.com