Former St. John Resident Heather Turfely Returns to Bureau of Corrections After Escape


Heather Turley

An escaped detainee who fled custody from the Alva A. Swan Annex remained at large for several days before turning herself in on Saturday morning, November 23, according to V.I. Bureau of Corrections Assistant Director Dwayne Benjamin.

Heather Turfely, a 36-year-old white female, escaped custody following the completion of her work detail at the facility’s laundry on Wednesday evening, November 20.

She turned herself into the Richard A. Callwood Command at the Alexander A. Farrelly Criminal Justice Complex at approximately 11:45 a.m. on Saturday morning.

Turfely came in without any incident, was processed and is currently undergoing medical and mental health assessments, according to Benjamin.

“Ms. Turfely will be charged with escape from custody in addition to her pending charges,” Benjamin said. “This escape is an isolated incident not indicative of the Bureau’s established protocols with regard to work detail. However a review of all protocols regarding work detail and work release will be performed to ensure that such incidents are not recurring.”

BOC will continue to provide opportunities for inmate participation in rehabilitation programs that will provide positive and constructive activities that will aid in their re-entry to the community, Benjamin added.

BOC, V.I. Police Department and other law enforcement entities actively sought to apprehend Turfely, who is diagnosed to suffer from mental illness. 

Turfely is a native of New Mexico, but had been living in the Virgin Islands, specifically on the island of St. John, when she was originally arrested. Prior to her escape, Turfely was being detained on charges of second degree robbery.