Three inmates who escaped from a medium security prison were recaptured Saturday afternoon after law enforcement officers spent 17 hours looking for the trio.

The three men, convicted of aggravated sex and burglary crimes, were captured by Utah Highway Patrol Trooper Boyd Woolsey and other officers at the Summit truck stop, about 10 miles north of the Iron County/Utah State Correctional Facility near Cedar City, said the facility's director, Jim Stewart.The inmates were discovered missing during a head count at 10:15 p.m. Friday, he said. "They escaped by cutting a hole in the security fencing above the exercise area."

Several area law enforcement agencies spent most of Saturday setting up roadblocks and combing the area by plane, horseback, car and foot. Ironically, Stewart said, the inmates were captured at 3:36 p.m. - about an hour after officials had relaxed their concentrated search efforts.

Officials believe the convicts had been hiding in some foothills east of I-15.

The inmates were identified as Gordon William Thomas, 26, who is serving a five-years-to-life sentence for aggravated sexual assault and robbery; Charles Clyde Rushton, 30, serving a three-years-to-life sentence for aggravated sexual abuse of a child; and Steven Wade Foster, 21, serving a one-to-15-year sentence for burglary and theft.

Stewart said the men were arrested without incident and will be charged with escape.

The exercise area where the inmates apparently escaped from is located outside of the normal living quarters, is surrounded by walls and is covered on top with a mesh wire.