Two inmates of the Bon Air Juvenile Correctional Center escaped early Monday in what authorities described as the first jail break from the Chesterfield County facility in 20 years.

Jabar A. Taylor, 20, convicted of two counts of second-degree murder and aggravated malicious assault, and Rashad E. Williams, 18, convicted of malicious wounding and robbery, were committed to the center by courts in the Fredericksburg area. Both were due to transfer to an adult Department of Corrections facility upon turning 21, officials said.

The two inmates overpowered security staff and escaped in the early morning hours through a hole that had been cut in a security fence, Greg Davy, a spokesman for the Virginia Department of Juvenile Justice, said in a release.

Taylor is from Spotsylvania County and Williams is from Washington, D.C.

The inmates allegedly used a cord of undetermined origin to choke the security staff member, who briefly lost consciousness. They took the staff member’s keys, which they used to exit the unit, and then escaped through a hole that had been cut in the facility’s perimeter security fence, Davy said.

The two then got into a vehicle that appeared to have been waiting for them and fled the area. It was unclear whether the inmates cut the hole in the fence, or whether the hole had been pre-cut. The staff member was treated and released from a nearby hospital emergency room.

Virginia State Police responded to the scene to take evidence and statements from staff, and a search for the escapees has begun. The Department of Juvenile Justice’s internal investigation unit also will complete an investigation regarding what transpired.

“This is the first escape we’ve had at Bon Air in over 20 years,” said Department of Juvenile Justice Director Valerie Boykin. “DJJ takes very seriously our role in promoting public safety, and are therefore releasing the names and photos of these young adults to aid in their apprehension, as allowed by the Virginia Code. “

“We are very concerned about how this happened and will fully investigate the circumstances and ensure that appropriate action is taken. We strive to provide for a safe, secure and therapeutic environment for the youth committed to our care,” she added. “We ask that anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of these individuals contact local authorities or the Virginia State Police.”

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