ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. (KTVI) – The Missouri correctional officers assigned to guard a convicted child sex predator, who escaped custody by walking out of a hospital, are no longer employed by the department.

Tommy Wayne Boyd’s mad dash for freedom ultimately ended around 8 p.m. on Thursday, nearly 16 hours after walking out the doors of Mercy Hospital South in St. Louis.

“He had quite a bit of lead time,” St. Louis County Police Lieutenant Colonel Jason Law said.

Law said officers set up a perimeter but realized Boyd may be in the South City area after a good Samaritan gave him a ride.

“They didn’t know each other. The gentleman was just being a nice person trying to help somebody out,” Law said.

Law said the good Samaritan called police after realizing Boyd had been at the center of a county-wide alert.

Authorities took no chances Thursday, immediately labeling Boyd as “dangerous” because of his two-time child sex crime convictions.

Witnesses called in reports of possible sightings after photos of the 45-year-old escapee were circulated to the public. One of those sightings was reported at Tower Grove Park in the city’s south side.

“There was a political event going on of some sort where they were registering voters,” Law said. “He contacted those folks during the event. They were giving out food and [he] obtained a hot dog.”

Officers searched the park, but Boyd had already left. County police are still trying to piece together a timeline of where he went.

Boyd was captured several hours later at a shopping center after someone spotted him and dialed 911.

“This person did an outstanding job of telling us where he was. We were able to respond and take him into custody,” Law said. “He had a black coat with a handcuff key.”

Nexstar’s KTVI requested an interview with the Missouri Department of Corrections, but the agency said no one was available to speak on the convict’s capture.

Missouri Department of Corrections Communications Director Karen Pojmann wrote in a statement Friday that the correctional officers involved are no longer employed.

“While the Missouri Department of Corrections has a strict protocol in place for transportation and supervision of offenders receiving hospital care, our investigation has concluded that departmental protocol was not followed regarding offender Boyd at Mercy Hospital South,” Pojmann wrote.

Pojmann, in her statement, further said she would not elaborate on the department’s policies when it comes to guarding a prisoner at a hospital.

“Personnel records and security-related investigation reports are confidential, so I am not able to provide them to you,” Pojmann wrote.

In a statement, Mercy Hospital South said its personnel followed all established protocol for treating inmates.

“Mercy followed its policies and procedures and relies on the department of corrections to keep inmates contained while on our campus, which did not occur in this case,” a spokesperson said.