Residents question security after 3rd inmate escapes Gaston Correctional Center this year

GASTON COUNTY, N.C. — Authorities are searching for an inmate they said escaped from the Gaston Correctional Center.

State correctional officials said Montavious Miller was reported missing from the facility Wednesday night. Prison staff last saw him at 7:30 p.m. and reported him missing 12 hours later.

Channel 9 checked and found that Miller was convicted in 2013 as a habitual felon and was serving a 10-year sentence. He has also had several infractions while behind bars, including threats and fighting.

Gaston Correctional Center is the same prison where two other inmates escaped earlier this year. Miller's escape is the seventh in the last two years from the facility.

Gaston Correctional is a minimum-security prison that has some asking how relaxed is the security.

"It's a little bit frightening and scary to know it's just in the backyard," said Elenia Napier, who lives nearby.

Since Napier moved to the community in March, two men have escaped.

Thomas Walker escaped in March while behind barbed wire gates.

The Department of Public Safety said details of how Walker escaped is part of prison security information and is not public record, according to state law.

Earlier in the year, a prisoner on work release stole a Lowell city truck and wrecked at high speed on I-85, killing himself in an apparent suicide.

“Maybe they need some more security over there,” Napier said.

DPS officials told us escapes statewide have dropped by about 80 percent in the last decade, but they have not said how they will reduce the number of escapes at the Gaston Correctional Center.

Christy McKinney, who runs a salon about a half-mile away from the prison, said that every time she gets an alert of an escape on her WSOC mobile app, she puts her shop on lockdown.

"They are running and they are putting the community in danger,” she said. “They could come in, want money, my car, anything."

[Convicted murderer killed in crash was assigned to prison work detail in neighborhoods]

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[Gaston County inmate back in custody after escaping]

If anyone knows the whereabouts of Miller or spots him, they are asked to call local law enforcement officials.

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