Santa Ramona Police say they're tightening security at local courts even as they hunt for an escaped prisoner accused of rape and torture.
Police are urging the public to report any sightings of alleged Satanic cult leader Theo Courvoisier, who leapt through a courtroom window and fled custody Saturday when the power at City Hall failed. While the window was guarded by an officer after being ordered opened by Judge Gil T. Justice to allow air to circulate, Courvoisier was able to escape along with the chair he was cuffed to after the lights went out.
Courvoisier remains at large as of press time.
"He saw an opportunity and when the police officer on scene was distracted by something else happening in the court, he took his opportunity. He was fast and cunning," said SRPD Lt. Sarina Jade. "We will be discussing courtroom procedures with the judge to ensure this doesn't happen again.
"This escape shouldn't have happened, but my job is to put him back behind bars, not lay blame," Jade said.
Courvoisier faces three counts of rape, two counts of torture, four counts each of kidnapping and false imprisonment and two counts each of battery of a law enforcement officer, aggravated assault and possession of narcotics.
Citizens are being urged to call 911 if they catch sight of Courvoisier, who is described as tall, Caucasian, with dark hair and a short beard, and with an inverted cross tattooed on his forehead. A hotline has also been set up to report information. It can be reached at XXX-XXX-XXXX.
Police are conducting a full sweep of the city, with airborne and K-9 units also being utilized. Jade said officers will be canvassing homes and businesses throughout Santa Ramona as the hunt continues.
Police said it is unlikely Courvoisier would leave the area, but there are fears he may target witnesses who are slated to testify against him.
Jade discouraged vigilante efforts to track down and confront Courvoisier.
"He's dangerous. He's proven that time and time again," Jade said. "It's bad enough this man escaped custody. I do not want someone to be injured because they tried to take the law into their own hands.
"We're trained for this. Let us do our job. We want the public to help by calling in tips and being vigilant."
The manhunt takes place concurrently with an ongoing search for Lilith Red Novak, who stands accused of organ trafficking and rape.