Escaped inmate robs Dallas woman

September 22, 2009 4:55:09 PM PDT
There's new information in the search for an inmate who has made a profession out of escaping from authorities. Police say Joshua Barnes used bed sheets tied together to climb out of his hospital window in Galveston last Saturday. After breaking out of a secure room at UTMB, Barnes, 21, apparently made it all the way to Oakcliff, near Dallas. On Monday, investigators say he terrorized and robbed a homeowner. They believe he may still be in the Dallas area, and could be driving the woman's car.

Police say Barnes, the inmate who lowered himself down the side of UTMB hospital after breaking through a wall and a thick pane of glass on Saturday, gave a Dallas area woman quite a scare. He may now be driving her car, a white Chrysler PT Cruiser.

Home invasion victim Michelle Cox recalled, "He said, 'If you don't shut up I'm going to kill you.'"

Barnes, who was serving a 35 year sentence for burglary and aggravated assault, has escaped from custody twice before. Investigators say he broke into Cox's house and held her hostage, locking her in her bathroom while he stole her clothes and her car.

Cox said, "He had his hand on my mouth so I wouldn't talk. He was completely almost smothering me. I finally managed to talk him off of me and I said, 'What do you want?' He said, 'I've just got to stay here for a while.' I said, 'Sir, what are you talking about?' 'Well, the police are looking for me.' I said, 'Well, I can't help you with that.' I said, 'I've got things to do today.'"

Eventually, Cox managed to break away to another room, lock the door and call police.

"Today was not my day to die," she said. "I was not going to die by this man's hands. So he was going to get out of my house and leave me alone."

But by the time police arrived, Barnes had taken off. The Texas Department of Corrections says investigators are following leads in the Dallas area and focusing on the stolen white PT Cruiser. But they say Barnes could also be making his way to Amarillo, where he is from.

The stolen car is a 2009 white Chrysler PT Cruiser with the Texas license plate LYS 388. If you see that car, you are asked to call police. Investigators say do not attempt to make contact with Barnes.

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