Costs at $55,000 for cornfield manhunt in ND



FARGO, N.D. (AP) — Authorities estimate that it cost $55,000 to catch a convicted sex offender who escaped from a private prisoner transport van and sparked a manhunt that ended in a cornfield.

Cass County Sheriff Paul Laney says California-based Extradition Transport of America is bonded and insured for such incidents and is cooperating. The company declined comment.

Laney says 60 people from seven agencies participated in the search.

Dozens of local, state and federal law officers searched Tuesday and Wednesday for 29-year-old Joseph Megna, who escaped during a rest stop while being transported from Florida to Washington state to face new charges. He surrendered after area farmers guided by SWAT team members began harvesting the cornfield.

Costs will include officer overtime, and fuel and mileage for ground vehicles, a helicopter and an airplane.