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Federal officials join search for rape suspect who escaped


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PAULDING, Ohio (AP) — Authorities are continuing the search for an Ohio rape suspect who overpowered a sheriff's deputy in a transport van, stole his gun and fled.

The Paulding County Sheriff's Office said Sunday that FBI and U.S. Marshals are also assisting in the search for 32-year-old Branden Lee Powell. Powell overpowered a deputy on a trip Friday from a psychiatric hospital to a county jail.

Powell was in leg shackles and handcuffs secured to a "belly belt" when he jumped over the seat and put the deputy in a headlock, causing the van to crash. Powell grabbed the deputy's gun and ordered him to remove the restraints.

Powell was jailed last month on rape, attempted rape and sexual battery charges.

A $2,000 reward has been offered for information leading to his apprehension.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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