VERNAL — An adoptive mother is pleading with an escaped inmate to turn himself in.
Cheryl Braham, of Layton, said the man who broke out of a Vernal jail had an abusive mother and turned to a life of crime at an early age.
"I’ll always love him, but I don’t like the things that he has done," she told KSL late Thursday.
Authorities continued to search Friday for Jason Max Braham, who escaped together with another 21-year-old inmate after taking apart an industrial-sized laundry vent at the Uintah County jail.
Braham and Dallas Ephraim Derrick were both serving time for theft and burglary. They turned up missing for a 2 a.m. Wednesday bed check.
Sheriff’s officials believe the men are long gone from eastern Utah. They say the inmates may have stolen a GMC Yukon from a nearby residence — the owner left the keys and a full tank of gas in his vehicle.
By late Friday, authorities said there was still no trace of the men or the SUV.
"The UFO has successfully taken them to parts unknown with the vehicle," Uintah County Undersheriff John Laursen said, jokingly.
"We have had zero response on it," he told The Associated Press. "We’ve had a lot of people calling saying, ‘There they are! There they are!’ We followed every lead — and there they aren’t. No, we haven’t gotten any sightings at all that have been substantiated."
Jason Braham was rejected by his natural mother at age 7 — "that’s devastating," said Cheryl Braham, of Layton, who adopted him that year.
A year later, he started stealing and breaking into cars, and he was first prosecuted at just 8, she said.
"We took him to psychiatrists and psychologists and all kinds of programs, and no one could get through to him," she said.
Jason Braham’s most recent brush with the law landed him at the Uintah County Jail, about 130 miles east of Salt Lake City, as a state offender.
Sometime early Wednesday, Braham and Derrick disassembled a large dryer vent and wiggled through an opening about two feet wide to freedom.
Just days before, Braham had written his adoptive mother asking her to visit.
"I don’t know why he would ask me to come — you have to go through background checks and all kinds of things — if he wasn’t going to be there," she said.