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Mother of inmate charged for escaping jail: 'I just hope this whole thing didn't totally ruin his whole life'

Dianne Screenshot
Posted at 6:00 PM, Jun 17, 2024

FREMONT COUNTY — Janet Van Vliet admits her son, Kegan Van Vliet, has had a troubled past.

"He's had problems but nothing like this," said Janet Van Vliet.

Body camera video we obtained from Cañon City police shows when her 45-year-old son was taken into custody outside her home on North Raynolds Avenue in the early morning hours of June 6. Watch body camera video of the arrest below:

The Cañon City Police Department arrest document details what police say happened at the property.

It says Kegan Van Vliet and his ex-girlfriend were living in a trailer on his mother's property for the last six months. The document says the ex-girlfriend told police she was gathering belongings when Van Vliet "started freaking out" and "shot his AR at her". Police say a spent shell casing was found in the area where the woman reported he shot at her and that an AR found at the scene was a makeshift illegal weapon that had been defaced. The report states the woman claimed Van Vliet was high on meth when it happened. Attempts by News 5 to reach out to the woman named in the report were unsuccessful.

Van Vliet's mother claims it was a case of self defense.

"She came at him with an axe and he told her to stay away or to keep back and she kept coming at him, I assume, and he just fired a warning shot into the ground," Janet Van Vliet said.

The arrest documents do not mention an axe involved in the incident. I asked police for clarification and Commander Tim Bell told me investigators found a hatchet at the scene. Bell said the victim told police she grabbed it after Van Vliet shot at her. He said when officers spoke to Van Vliet on scene he never told police she came at him with a hatchet.

"We had six to eight police cars all lining the street," Janet Van Vliet said.

Van Vliet said her son took off on foot and called her.

"I was at home and I was on the phone with my daughter and he happened to call in as I'm on the phone, I answered and it was him," Van Vliet said. "He asked me to go get a police officer, that he wanted to speak to them and give him his side of the story."

Van Vliet says she followed through on her son's request and told police her son wanted to speak with an officer.

Meanwhile, the arrest document says police tracked a cell phone to several areas nearby. They found it back at his trailer where they eventually took him into custody.

The next day the Fremont County Sheriff's office says he escaped from the jail.

Fremont County undersheriff speaks after third inmate escape

Undersheriff Derek Irvine provided News 5 with the surveillance video outside of the jail of the moments he said Van Vliet escaped.

Inmate escapes from Fremont County Jail

"I went to make copies at the copy place and (an employee) walked up and just said, "I just got a notification there's someone that escaped from the jail.' I just asked, 'What's his description?' and it was my son's exact description.

Dianne Derby: What did you think in that moment.
Janet Van Vliet: What the hell's going on? I mean, they just arrested him last night.
Dianne: Derby: Did they come back to your house once they knew he was he escaped?
Janet Van Vliet: Yes. When I got home after doing the search around you know, after seeing all the police and the dogs, they were there at my house already waiting for me.

The U.S. Marshals Service says Van Vliet was caught early the next morning in Colorado Springs near I-25 and North Nevada Avenue.

So how did Van Vliet get all the way to Colorado Springs? His mother tells me her other son was parked at a nearby gas station to the jail. She says Van Vliet walked up to the jeep and demanded his brother get out. She says he drove it to Colorado Springs and left in this parking lot near I-25 and Woodmen Road. Both the U.S. Marshals Service and the Fremont County undersheriff would not comment to me about how Van Vliet made it to Colorado Springs.

Now Van Vliet is facing an additional felony charge for escape.

"I just hope this whole thing just just didn't totally ruin his whole life because it didn't need to happen," said Janet Van Vliet.

Van Vliet is being held in the Fremont County Detention Center on several charges.

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