Columbia Co. gives award to Rockford shelter owner who helped catch inmates

Carly Rice reported the escaped criminals to authorities last April.
Published: Feb. 5, 2021 at 3:21 PM CST|Updated: Feb. 5, 2021 at 7:16 PM CST
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COLUMBIA CO., Wis. (WMTV) - The Columbia County Sheriff’s Office presented an award on Thursday night to Carly Rice for her assistance in catching two escaped inmates last April.

Rice was called a hero after she helped catch inmates James Newman and Thomas Deering last April, who managed to break out of the prison and take law enforcement on the run all the way to Illinois.

It was in Rockford where the inmates decided to ask for food and shelter at Carly Rice’s Miss Carly’s homeless shelter. She had in fact recognized their faces from the news, and while keeping them distracted with coffee, Rice called the police.

“I started to get really nervous because I realized the desperation these people are probably feeling,” said Rice. “I reminded myself that I matter and I can do an important thing.”

For Rice, it’s also personal because she has her own criminal history and lost her mother to violent crime.

“Being able to do this for the community provided me with some sort of closure because I couldn’t save my mom, but I could save other people,” said Rice. “It was a pretty big deal for me and it gave me some healing.”

She says she stays at a cabin in Portage a few times a year and saw the photos of the inmates on social media from one of her friends from the area.

“It was such a happenstance situation,” said Rice. “I feel honored to have done the right thing because all my life I didn’t do the right thing.”

She also shared that Columbia County donated hygiene items, sack lunch items and other donations to her shelter.

I can’t explain to you how it felt to stand in front of an auditorium full of sheriffs and have THEM present ME with an...

Posted by Miss Carly's on Thursday, February 4, 2021

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