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Man charged with helping fellow inmate shave head, escape from Utah jail

By Pat Reavy, KSL | Posted - Feb. 27, 2020 at 11:57 a.m.

OGDEN — A Weber County Jail inmate who police say helped another inmate escape faces potentially more jail time.

Matthew Kyle Belnap, 36, of Pleasant View, was charged Thursday in 2nd District Court with aiding and abetting an escape, and obstructing justice, both third-degree felonies.

Belnap, who was in jail on a shoplifting conviction, was scheduled to be released from jail on Tuesday.

But investigators say on Monday, Belnap, who is bald, helped fellow inmate Kaleb Wiewandt, 41, shave his head and provided him “with his inmate identification card, birthdate, and Social Security number,” according to charging documents.

Wiewandt also memorized Belnap’s personal information, police say. When jail staff members called over the speaker system for Belnap to collect his property and prepare to be released, Belnap stayed in his bunk “and did not attempt to gather items, nor did he attempt to speak with anyone. Inmate Wiewandt is shown gathering up his belongings and immediately exiting the housing pod,” the charges state.

After he walked out of jail, staffers discovered emails Wiewandt had sent to a woman making arrangements for her to pick him up, according to charging documents.

The Weber County Sheriff’s Office says Wiewandt is from Orange County in Southern California and he was believed to be headed to that area. Investigators say after being released, Wiewandt walked east on 12th Street. They are asking for any businesses that may have recorded Wiewandt on surveillance cameras to contact them.

As of Wednesday, investigators were unaware of any deals that were made between Belnap and Wiewandt and did not know exactly why Belnap allowed someone to take his place when he was scheduled to be released.

Detectives believe, however, the plan may have been for Belnap to later tell jail staffers that the wrong man was released, believing that the jail would still release him after realizing their mistake, according to the sheriff's office.

The U.S. Marshals Office was working with Weber County authorities to locate Wiewandt.

Wiewandt was being held in Weber County on a federal indictment of escaping from custody. Wiewandt was convicted on federal charges of mail and wire fraud in Arizona and was staying at the Geo Care Residential Reentry Center in Salt Lake City when he escaped, according to court records. He is scheduled to go to trial in that case in May.

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