The word from is a prepositional term that is used to mark a starting point in time or space. If your subject was once in prison or if he was once caught by Agent Hanratty, you would state "escaped from" to indicate that the subject, at some specific point in time, "escaped" his existing state of captivity.
To state that your subject "escaped prison" or "escaped Agent Hanratty" could also be correct. In this context, the implication is that your subject was nearly sent to prison or that Agent Hanratty almost caught the subject. Since captivity never occurred, we state that your subject "escaped" a circumstance that could have happened.
Since the subject was never held captive, there was never a point in time which the term from can reference. Thus, from is omitted.
However, English is often a tricky language. It isn't uncommon for news headlines to leave out some prepositional terms for the sake of brevity. For instance, a newspaper may run a front-page articles with the headline, "John Doe Escapes Prison!"
Did John Doe escape prison by being acquitted of a court accusation? Did he break out and flee from a prison complex? It is impossible to know without reading the story and gaining further context. This is because newspapers and news sites will quite often omit the word from for the sake of saving a bit of headline space.
This may seem inconsequential. However, often what "feels" right about a spoken language is what is commonly heard or read. If you frequently read headlines and news articles, brevity will feel correct.