UPDATE: Captured murderer was busy during nearly 24 hours of freedom

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LAPORTE COUNTY, Ind. - Police say convicted murderer Michael Elliot committed a slew of crimes throughout Michigan and Northern Indiana before being captured by police in LaPorte County.

Elliot appeared in court for the first time since his arrest Tuesday.

He was arraigned and refused extradition.

Police say a governor's warrant could be used to transport Elliot back to Michigan quickly. They have up to 30 days to obtain the warrant.

Less than 24 hours after escaping from a Michigan prison, Elliot was arrested in LaPorte County Monday night.

Around 5:15 p.m., LaPorte County Sherriff’s deputies were alerted about a stolen vehicle at Aero Metals on E. Lincolnway.

Police say an employee left his keys in the ignition to warm the car up, so Elliot was easily able to hop inside.

The vehicle was identified as a 2002 Chevrolet Monte Carlo. About two minutes after the call was dispatched, Deputy Slawek Czupryna saw the vehicle on Boyd Boulevard.

Czupryna checked to make sure the license plates matched those of the car reported stolen. Once he confirmed it was the vehicle they were looking for, the deputy attempted to pull Elliot over.

At that time, a pursuit ensued. Two other officers had to deploy stop sticks to help catch Elliot. They flattened the tires on the stolen car, causing Elliot to lose control and crash into a snow bank near CR 150 N and 250 E in rural LaPorte County.

Czupryna approached the car with his gun drawn, along with Deputy Jeffery Wright. Elliot was trying to get out the driver's side window, but Czupryna quickly grabbed his arm and took him to the ground.

It wasn't until the deputies were looking for some type of identification that they realized who the suspect was.

"I asked him his name and he told me his name was Michael Elliot," Wright said. "I confirmed with him that he was the Michael Elliot that we heard throughout the day and he nodded his head that it was him. It was a sense of relief."

Police say it appears Elliot traveled to LaPorte County in another stolen vehicle. They believe he stole at least four different cars after escaping from prison Sunday night.

"One was stolen from the Elkhart area, from what I understand," LaPorte County Sheriff Mike Mollenhauer said. "And, there was a vehicle before that stolen from I think Shipshewana or somewhere in that area. And, of course the initial vehicle was stolen from Michigan."

Middlebury police say they're investigating a burglary at Crystal Valley Missionary Church. They believe Elliot broke a window, leaving blood behind, and stole clothing.

Police say he then crossed the street to Das Essenhaus, where he stole the unlocked car of an employee who left the keys inside.

Elliot drove the car to LaPorte and eventually ditched it on the city's east side.

Mollenhauer says it's unclear where Elliot was headed on his way through LaPorte, but he told the arresting officers he was going someplace warm.

Elliot is being charged in LaPorte County with Motor Vehicle Theft and Resisting Law Enforcement, both class D felonies. He is being held at LaPorte County Jail without bond.

He also faces charges of kidnapping, carjacking and escape in Ionia County, Michigan.

The manhunt for Elliot started Sunday night, after he escaped from Ionia Correctional Facility in Michigan.

Elliot was convicted of four murders in 1993 and is serving five life sentences.

Michigan Department of Corrections Director Dan Heyns says officers realized Elliot was gone during a routine count at about 9 p.m. Sunday. After looking at surveillance tapes, they realized he escaped somewhere between 6 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Heyns says during the time of the escape, Elliot was dressed in a white kitchen uniform. It is unknown at this time how he got that uniform. Heyns says Elliot was not assigned to the kitchen.

They believe it was the color of that uniform that had something to do with his ability to get by multiple security cameras and interior and perimeter fencing.

After escaping, Elliot carjacked a woman using a box cutter. He held her hostage during the more than 100-mile drive to Elkhart County.

They stopped for gas around 11 p.m. at a Marathon gas station near the intersection of SR 13 and CR 2, near Middlebury. The woman escaped Elliot at the station by asking for a cup for water, then locking herself in the bathroom and calling 911.

Elliot fled in the victim's car before police arrived.

Indiana State Police say the red Jeep Liberty he fled in was found in the 400 block of North State Street in Shipshewana Monday afternoon. A woman living in the neighborhood noticed the car matched the description of one given on the news, so she called police around 12:15 p.m. But, police say the car was seen in the area as early as 5:30 a.m.

"You can go a lot of places in seven hours," said Sgt. Ron Galaviz with the Indiana State Police. "Especially if you have a mode of transportation. And, I'm not suggesting he does. But, again, we're looking for stolen vehicle reports or anything of that nature to help follow up on, to help us pursue on that trail."

Police went door-to-door looking for any signs of Elliot in Shipshewana. Westview Schools were notified of the situation and placed on lock down. Students were later dismissed, with a heavy police presence on site to ensure their safety. Police say all students were accounted for and the schools were thoroughly searched.

Indiana State Police say after searching the community, their hunt for Elliot in Shipshewana was suspended Monday night.

"What we're asking the public to do is to remain vigilant," Galaviz said.

"If you see something, say something. If something appears out of order, if a door seems unlocked, if a window is broken, don't investigate it. Call 911."

NBC affiliate WSMV in Nashville says early Monday morning, a woman thought she spotted Elliot at a Tennessee gas station. But, police say it was a false identification. Elliot has family in Tennessee.


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