Brother of escaped inmate arrested

Santa Clara County sheriff’s detectives on Thursday arrested the brother of escaped jail inmate Johnell Carter on suspicion of helping Carter remain free from custody since he fled from a hospital in San Jose on March 6, deputies said.

Detectives took 46-year-old Joseph Carter into custody Thursday in Lodi and booked him into the Santa Clara County jail in San Jose on suspicion of felony counts of being an accessory after the fact and assisting in an escape after the fact, sheriff’s spokesman Sgt. James Jensen said.

Johnell Carter, 40, who had been held since March 2014 in the county jail on five counts of child molestation prior to his escape, is still at large and not believed to be in the greater San Jose area, Jensen said.

A task force of law enforcement agencies is tracking leads in its search for Carter and his capture remains a high priority for the sheriff’s office, but further details cannot be released because of the open investigation, he said.

Joseph Carter is suspected of assisting his brother in eluding authorities after Johnell Carter fled from custody on March 6, but not in the actual escape that day, he said.

Carter, arrested by Campbell police last March on suspicion of five counts of child molestation, had been transported from the jail on March 6 to the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center in San Jose for a medical appointment when at 1:30 p.m. he fought off a sheriff’s deputy, injuring the deputy’s shoulder.

The inmate then ran away and was last seen near Moorpark Avenue and Thornton Way.

About 45 deputies set up a search perimeter to find Carter with the help of some San Jose police officers and a California Highway Patrol helicopter, but they could not find him.

He is described as an African American man standing 5 feet 11 inches tall, weighing 220 pounds, with “AMY” tattooed on the left side of neck and “Johnell Jr.” tattooed on his left upper arm.

He also has a mole on the left side of his chin, according to deputies.

Anyone who sees Carter is asked to call 911 rather than trying to detain him and those with information about the case are encouraged to call the Sheriff’s Office at (408) 808-4500, or to leave an anonymous tip, call (408) 808-4431.