- Associated Press - Friday, July 15, 2016

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - Investigators have been told a prison caseworker provided a cellphone to a prisoner who later escaped with another inmate from the Lincoln Correctional Center.

The investigators believe the prisoner, Timothy Clausen, used the phone to set up plans for his escape June 10 with Armon Dixon. Dixon was caught the next day in Lincoln. Clausen was captured June 15 in Omaha.

A court document filed in Douglas County said the information about the cellphone came from another prisoner, but his reliability has been challenged by a state corrections spokesman, Andrew Nystrom. Nystrom said Thursday that he can’t comment on the investigation other than to say no prison caseworkers or officers have been disciplined in connection with the smuggling of a cellphone linked to the escapes.

The document said investigators think the caseworker was living beyond her means and may have been smuggling other forbidden items into the prison. The document said it’s believed Clausen paid her $500 for the cellphone, which was delivered about a month before the escapes. Investigators who talked to the unnamed woman said she was not forthcoming about any wrongdoing.

Investigators also are trying to identify a woman who called the prison about 15 minutes after the escapes to say Dixon had called her to ask for a ride. The woman said she thought the call was a joke, but she asked whether Dixon had escaped. The guard in charge of the housing unit in which Dixon lived told her he had not. His absence soon was discovered.

Another woman has been accused of picking up Clausen in Lincoln and driving him away. Her case is pending.

Prison authorities have said Dixon and Clausen escaped by climbing into a laundry truck that was headed to another state prison and then cutting a hole in the truck’s top to get out.

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