Escaped inmate is found dead in a Philadelphia warehouse

PHILADELPHIA — A body found inside a Philadelphia warehouse has been identified as an inmate who walked away from a work detail almost two weeks ago in the fourth breakout from a city lockup this year, police announced late Tuesday.

The Philadelphia Medical Examiner’s Office identified the body found on Monday as escaped prisoner Gino Hagenkotter, police said in a news release.

Hagenkotter, 34, who was serving time on theft and burglary charges, was working in the orchard on the grounds of the Philadelphia Industrial Correctional Center on Nov. 30 when he asked the guard assigned to him for permission to use the bathroom, Philadelphia Department of Prisons Commissioner Blanche Carney said at the time. The guard checked the restroom when Hagenkotter failed to return, but he wasn’t there, officials said.

escaped inmate
The body of a man found dead inside a warehouse in Philadelphia has been identified as escaped prisoner Gino Hagenkotter.WCAU/USMS Philadelphia

Hagenkotter scaled a fence, walked through a city sanitation department yard next to the prison, took off his jumpsuit and was last seen on surveillance video walking down the street, according to Deputy Police Commissioner Frank Vanore.

On Monday afternoon, officers responded to a report of an unresponsive man in a warehouse and he was pronounced dead at the scene, police said. Investigators found a broken air vent and a pushed-out fan, suggesting forced entry, and a ladder was found nearby, police said.

The Philadelphia Medical Examiner’s Office notified police on Tuesday that the man had been identified through fingerprint analysis as Hagenkotter, police said. The U.S. Marshals Service Philadelphia, which was assisting with the search, notified Hagenkotter’s family.

The cause of death is under investigation, police said.

Hagenkotter was due to be released from the nearby Riverside Correctional Facility into a transitional program on the day of his escape. But officials canceled the transfer after learning he had open retail theft charges in suburban Bucks County, and told Hagenkotter he would continue serving time at Riverside until April, Carney said. She said officials believe that played a role in his decision to escape.

He is the fourth person to escape custody in Philadelphia this year.

In May, two men, including one charged with four counts of murder, escaped from Philadelphia Industrial Correctional Center by slipping through a gap that had been cut into a chain-link fence. The men were gone for nearly 19 hours before officials knew they were missing. Both were recaptured.

A woman briefly escaped the same jail in September by scaling two fences topped by razor wire.