Correction officer arrested in jail break

Convicted murdered escapes from Rockville Correctional Facility

Sarah Jo Pender

ROCKVILLE A prison official from the Rockville Correctional Facility has been arrested on allegations of assisting a criminal in the escape Monday of a murderer from the facility.

Officer Scott A. Spitler was arrested about 2 a.m. Tuesday after investigators from the Indiana Department of Correction alleged that Spitler helped Sarah Jo Pender, 29, escape from the facility by hiding her in an IDOC vehicle and driving her out of the facility.

According to a release from IDOC, Pender was then picked up outside the facility by an unknown person, and her whereabouts on Tuesday were unknown.

Pender, who has been serving a sentence for murder since 2002, was discovered missing during a facility count around 4 p.m. Monday.

Spitler faces potential charges of assisting a criminal, sexual misconduct, and trafficking with an inmate, all class-C felonies, as well as official misconduct, a class-D felony.

IDOC commissioner Edwin G. Buss credited the effort of IDOC investigators in quickly developing leads that led to Spitler’s arrest.

“While I am embarrassed for the IDOC and deeply angered and disappointed in the officer’s conduct that led to the offender’s escape, I am proud that my department moved quickly to identify those involved in aiding the escape.”

Spitler has been employed as a correctional officer since 2003.

Pender, whose earliest possible release date was 2052, is from Nineveh. She is described as a white woman with brown hair and blue eyes. She is 5 feet 8 inches tall and weighs 200 pounds. Pender has two tattoos: one is a target on the upper right leg, and the other is a faded butterfly on her chest.

Pender was convicted in 2002 of murder in Marion County in the deaths of Andrew Cataldi and Tricia Nordman in October 2000. Also convicted was Richard Hull. Both Hull and Pender were roommates of Nordman and Cataldi, according to court documents.

Police said Pender bought the shotgun that was used to kill her roommates. The victims’ bodies were found in a trash bin on the south side of Indianapolis.

Anyone with information about Pender is asked to call 911 or their local police.


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