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Search for escaped killer extends to Shipshewana apartment complex

SHIPSHEWANA, Ind. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - The search for a convicted killer who escaped from the Ionia Correctional Facility Sunday night continued into the day Monday.

Michael Elliot was in prison, serving a life sentence after he was convicted of killing four people.

After his escape, investigators say he kidnapped a woman, then traveled from Ionia to Middlebury, Indiana, where she managed to escape.

Now, the focus has shifted to Shipshewana, where just hours ago, Elliot's stolen vehicle was spotted at an apartment complex.

The police search on Monday wound up at the Sulky Downs Apartment complex and Newschannel 3 was on the scene, at the back of the complex where the red Jeep Liberty police say Elliot was driving was found.

It was called in to police after noon, but investigating more, police say some people may have seen it as early as 5:30 Monday morning.

All afternoon officer were going door to door at the complex.

Police involved in the two state manhunt for Michael Elliot converged on the complex in Shipshewana, where the vehicle police say he stole turned up.

People here say they didn't want to go home, wondering if the convicted killer could be hiding out where they live.

"It's very scary, I know there's a lot of people around here who have little ones and stuff," said one neighbor, Jared Christner. "I didn't know about it until a few minutes ago; my fiance called me and told me about it."

It was a neighbor who first called police after seeing the SUV parked between homes.

"The very first officers, the Chief of Police, their very first priority was the people in that house, the people making that call. The second priority was getting the school just south locked down," explained Sergeant Ron Galaviz, with the Indiana State Police.

Police then went on a door to door search with guns drawn, but they didn't find Elliot.

"We would like for people to stay in their homes," Sgt. Galaviz said. "If you do have to venture out let people know where you're going."

This was the first trace of Elliott since 12 hours earlier, when he went into a Middlebury gas station with the woman police say he had kidnapped.

She was able to get away, and Elliot drove just seven miles east.

So with no success at Sulky Downs, police say they are going to go door-to-door through all Shipshewana now, to look for anything unusual.

Several schools did go on lockdown, Monday, and at the end of the day police helped them get on the the bus and walk home.