BOZEMAN — A suspect in a weekend rape and assault case in Bozeman was able to escape the Law and Justice Center after being left alone during a shift change, police said.
Deputy Police Chief Rich McLane said that Kevin Briggs was left in an unlocked interview room for about 10 minutes on Sunday morning.
"Somewhere there was a miscommunication over who was exactly supposed to be watching him," McLane said.
Briggs, 28, was arrested by officers investigating a report that a woman had been drugged and sexually assaulted and that a man tried to stab and strangle her. Officers put Briggs in a belly belt with his hands cuffed in the front. He also had shackles on his legs when he was left in the interview room.
The door to the interview room was unlocked, as was the door leading out of the police station, McLane said.
As soon as officers realized Briggs was gone, a K-9 unit followed Briggs' tracks toward downtown.
Authorities were still searching for Briggs on Monday. He is described as being 5 feet, 5 inches tall with a medium build. He was last seen wearing a black or gray hooded coat with stripes, green pants and black shoes.
McLane said the department will conduct an internal review of the officers' actions along with policy and procedure.
"This can't happen again," McLane said. "We owe it to our community to not allow this type of unsafe action to occur, especially with someone we definitely knew was dangerous."
Briggs is on probation. He has convictions for kidnapping and raping a girl in Helena in early 2003. He also was convicted of escape in Lewis and Clark County in 2003 and in Powell County in 2004.