Cherokee County fugitives captured

Staff Reports
Hopkins and Martslof handcuffed following their capture.

CHEROKEE COUNTY, Kan. — Mark Hopkins and Michael Martsolf, who escaped from the Cherokee County Jail on Monday, May 24, were apprehended last Friday in Ottawa County, Oklahoma after a massive manhunt, according to law enforcement officials. 

"I can't commend enough, the incredible work by local law enforcement agencies, the Tri-State Major Case Squad, the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, Kansas Highway Patrol, Oklahoma, and Missouri Highway Patrols, the United States Marshal's Service and the Federal Bureau of Investigation for the non-stop effort to capture these two fugitives this week," said Cherokee County Sheriff David Groves. 

Hopkins and Martsolf are thought to have escaped at roughly 11 p.m. on Monday, before later fleeing from local law enforcement in a 2008 White Honda Accord around 3 a.m.  

Officials with the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office at the time did not, and still have not, commented on exactly how the inmates allegedly escaped but noted that both men were to be considered “armed and dangerous” at the time of their escape.  

While investigating the escape, Tasha Young, 26, of Weir, was arrested Thursday morning for her alleged role in helping the fugitives. She is currently being held without bond on allegations of conspiracy to commit aggravated escape, aiding and abetting and obstructing justice. 

That same day officials announced a $5,000 reward to anyone with information leading to the capture of Hopkins and Martsolf. 

The next day, both men were captured by law enforcement in Oklahoma. Officers from Cherokee County, the Tri-State Major Case Squad, the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, highway patrols in Kansas, Oklahoma and Missouri, and federal agents participated in the search and capture. 

Martsolf, 34, was arrested in the summer of 2020 for drug-related crimes including possession of opiates/opium, theft of property/services, felony possession of certain hallucinogenic drugs, and use/possession of drug paraphernalia. He was being held with a $10,000 bond. 

Hopkins, 30, was arrested last summer on charges stemming from a June 2020 double homicide near Scammon. He allegedly shot Blaze Swank, 27, of rural Scammon, and Kylan Shook, 20, of Pittsburg. They were found shot to death in rural northwestern Cherokee County. His arresting charges included capital murder for more than one victim, battery or causing bodily harm and probation violations. Hopkins was being held without bond. 

Hopkins and Martsolf both now face additional charges of aggravated escape from custody, according to the authorities.