NASHVILLE, Tenn. — More than a dozen teenagers who escaped from a Nashville detention center remain at large Tuesday as a massive police manhunt resulted in the capture of about 15 others.
Police have been able to bring about half of the 32 escaped juveniles back into custody. Seventeen were still at large at 5:45 a.m., according to Rob Johnson, spokesman for the Department of Children's Services.
The teens escaped from Woodland Hills juvenile detention facility around 11 p.m. Monday by crawling under a weak spot in a fence that surrounded a yard there, Johnson said.
"Most of the kids have at least three felonies," Johnson said.
The escape happened when a large group of teens at the center went out into the yard all at once shortly after a shift change, Johnson said. He said he didn't know if the escape was planned or spontaneous. A total of 78 teens were being held at the center at the time, Johnson said.
Metro police are working with DCS and the Tennessee Highway Patrol to find the youths.
In May, six or seven teens at Woodland Hills broke out of their rooms and into the courtyard. In that case, staffers and caseworkers persuaded the teens to return inside.
In 2013, nine teenage girls escaped from the G4S Academy for Young Women in Donelson.
Contributing: The Associated Press