Inmates’ identity swap fools jailers, leads to escape

Michael Diontae Johnson switched identity with inmate scheduled for release Thursday

Michael Diontae Johnson is accused of switching identities with another inmate and escaping from Clark County Jail. (CCSO)

CLARK CO., Wash. (KOIN) — An inmate at Clark County Jail is accused of switching identities with another inmate and escaping from custody Thursday morning.

Michael Diontae Johnson, 30, got out around 8:30 a.m., Clark County Sheriff’s Office said. Jail workers noticed a few hours later during a scheduled meal and headcount.

The inmate he switched identities with was scheduled to be released Thursday.

Michael Diontae Johnson is accused of switching identities with another inmate and escaping from Clark County Jail. (CCSO)
Police are looking for escaped inmate Michael Diontae Johnson. (CCSO)

“I can’t comment on the manner in which Johnson switched identities with the other inmate,” Undersheriff Mike Cooke said in a press release. “I can say, however, that this escape required prior planning and the active cooperation of the second inmate.”

Johnson arrived at Clark County Jail on May 6 and was waiting to go on trial for charges including harassment, assault, intimidating a witness and bail jumping.

He was previously convicted of kidnapping and assault in Arizona. He was reportedly serving time for those charges when he was brought to Clark County Jail.

He also has an active warrant out of Multnomah County.

Jail officials say they were 6 weeks away from implementing a biometrics screening tool aimed at preventing similar escapes. The tool will collect inmates’ fingerprints when they’re booked into jail and match them before they are released.

Local authorities are actively searching for Johnson. He’s described as an African American male, 5’4″ and 140 pounds with black hair and brown eyes.

Anyone with information on his whereabouts is urged to call 911 immediately.

Michael Diontae Johnson in a file mugshot from 2014. (MCSO)
Michael Diontae Johnson in a file mugshot from 2014. (MCSO)

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