Escaped inmates from William Head prison arrested in Esquimalt after commenting on off-duty RCMP officer’s dog

Escaped inmates from William Head prison arrested in Esquimalt after commenting on off-duty RCMP officer’s dog

The two inmates that escaped from William Head prison in Metchosin Sunday evening were arrested in Esquimalt Tuesday after they were seen by an off-duty RCMP officer.

Forty-two-year-old James Lee Busch and 30-year-old Zachary Armitage have been recaptured. Busch was serving out a sentence for second-degree murder and Armitage for aggravated assault.

Police say the two men were recaptured Tuesday night without incident.

According to West Shore RCMP, the arrest took place at around 8 p.m. after an off-duty RCMP officer spotted the inmates in Esquimalt and called 911.

“The off duty officer was walking his dog, a Great Dane named Lewis, in the area of West Bay in Esquimalt when the escaped inmates commented on how big “Lewis” was. That’s when the RCMP officer immediately recognized the males as Armitage and Busch. The RCMP officer called 911 right way and kept an eye on the inmates,” said Const. Nancy Saggar, West Shore RCMP media relations officer.

The Victoria Police Department made the arrest then turned over the prisoners to the West Shore RCMP. They are set to appear in court later Wednesday.

The two inmates escaped from the minimum security prison around 6:45 p.m. Sunday. Corrections staff only noticed they were missing when they didn’t turn up for the 11 p.m. roll call. Corrections then reported the two were wanted for being unlawfully at large.

Busch pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in 2010 and was sentenced to life in prison with no parole for 15 years. He had killed a woman over a $20 drug debt then put her body in a dumpster. The woman, 41-year-old Sandra Marie Ramsay, had lived next door to Busch at a downtown assisted living facility.

Busch had been out of jail just two months when he killed Ramsay and had previous convictions for violent offences including assault with a weapon.

Armitage is serving a 13-year sentence for robbery and aggravated assault, in which the victim later died.

William Head Assistant Warden Anthony Baldo said earlier Tuesday the institution has launched an internal review to see what exactly went wrong and what they can do better to prevent future escapes.

He said like all offenders both men would have been assessed upon sentencing and had a plan put together that would be geared towards eventually releasing them into the community.

Baldo also said that once captured the two will be returned to a facility with a higher security level.

Luisa AlvarezLuisa Alvarez

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