Escaped teens found at Wasilla home

Posted: Friday, December 15, 2000

WASILLA (AP) -- Two teens who beat a guard and escaped while leaving the Palmer courthouse Monday have been taken into custody and the father of one of the boys is facing charges of hindering prosecution, Alaska State Troopers said.

Troopers said they spotted Rodney Whitstine, 13, and John P. Smith, Jr., 14, leaving the Bogard Country store in Wasilla Thursday afternoon. Troopers followed the boys who returned to Smith's home on Green Street in Wasilla.

The two had apparently been staying at the Smith home since their escape, investigators said. John P. Smith, Sr. was also taken into custody and charged with two counts of hindering prosecution.

After following the boys to the Smith home, troopers found Whitstine inside an old camper on the property. They searched for 2 1/2 hours for the younger Smith, who was found hiding under a pile of plywood.

The teens are being held at the Mat-Su Youth Facility in Palmer.

The boys had been facing felony burglary charges when they beat up their guard after a court hearing in Palmer and escaped.

The two were handcuffed and wore leg shackles when the attack occurred. The boys knocked the woman down and grabbed her keys to unlock their chains before running across a field and into a neighborhood.

Whitstine and Smith are accused of breaking into Wasilla-area homes last month and stealing guns, troopers said.

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