UPDATE: Source says convicted murderer caught in LaPorte County

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ELKHART COUNTY A source close to the investigation tells NewsCenter 16 convicted murderer Michael Elliot was arrested in LaPorte County after a chase Monday night.

The manhunt for 40-year- old 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 has been suspended and they have no new leads. They don't know if he is still in Michiana or has traveled elsewhere since abandoning the Jeep.

"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.

He is described as a 5'8, 165-pound white male with brown hair and eyes. Elliot was wearing a blue and orange state prison uniform when he escaped, but he was last seen in black pants, a white t-shirt, white tennis shoes and a white beanie cap.

Elliot should be considered armed and dangerous. Anyone who comes in contact with him, should contact law enforcement immediately.

According to Grand Rapids-based WOOD-TV, Elliot was serving five life sentences for four murders and an armed robbery. He was convicted in 1993. He was also serving 13 years for setting a house on fire and two years for using a firearm during the commission of a felony.

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