Guard Samuel W. Van Auken

Guard Samuel W. Van Auken

Monroe County Correctional Facility, Pennsylvania

End of Watch Sunday, December 15, 1974

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Samuel W. Van Auken

Guard Samuel Van Auken succumbed to injuries sustained when an inmate beat him and another guard with a steel mop handle during an escape attempt from the old county jail, located in Stroudsburg at 34 North 7th Street.

Four men had been arrested earlier in the day on burglary charges when state police caught them breaking into a Stroudsburg home and brought to the jail. One of the men, who was an escapee from a New Jersey reformatory, had given a fake name in order to conceal his real identity. The man was escorted into the jail office after requesting to make a phone call. While in the office the man attacked Guard Van Auken and a second guard with a metal broom handle.

Guard Van Auken suffered fatal injuries and the second guard was seriously injured. The jail's cook prevented the man from escaping after alerting Stroudsburg police and then attacking the prisoner with a chair.

The 22-year-old suspect was convicted of first degree murder and sentenced to life. He received an additional 3 to 7 years for attacking the other guard.

Guard Van Auken had served as the weekend jail guard at the Monroe County Jail for seven years. He also served in part-time capacities with the Monroe County Sheriff's Office, East Stroudsburg Police Department, and the East Stroudsburg Area School District Police. He was a WWII veteran and was survived by his wife, two brothers, and three sisters.


  • Age 61
  • Tour 7 years
  • Badge Not available
  • Military Veteran

Incident Details

  • Cause Assault
  • Weapon Blunt object
  • Offender Sentenced to life

escape attempt

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Rest in peace and always know that your service and sacrifice will never, ever be forgotten by your law enforcement brethren.

Detective Cpl/3 Steven Rizzo
Delaware State Police (Retired)

December 15, 2020

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