Manhunt for Hopkins Co. escapees reaches 24-hour mark

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by MARJORIE OWENS, RON CORNING, DAVID SCHECHTER, MARCUS MOORE and MONKIA DIAZ

WFAA

Posted on April 2, 2013 at 9:41 AM

Updated Saturday, Nov 9 at 10:42 AM

Hopkins County Jail

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SULPHUR SPRINGS –– The search for two men who escaped from the Hopkins County Jail resumed Wednesday morning, over 24 hours after the men managed to slip away from a recreational area and vanish.

As the search continues, questions remain surrounding how Brian Allen Tucker, a 45-year-old capital murder suspect; and John Marlin King, a 40-year-old charged with evading arrest; escaped the Hopkins County Jail in Sulphur Springs.

Wednesday, County Judge Chris Brown said video cameras monitoring the recreational area partially, if not completely, captured the moment the men escaped. However, he said the video is part of their investigation and will not be released at this time.

Shortly after news of the escape broke Tuesday, Deputy Alvin Jordan said the two men, who were segregated from others in the jail, were able to escape through a gap between a fence and gate.

"The way I understood, they squeezed between the gate and the fence that had a little chain around it," he said.

However, later in the day, Sheriff "Butch" Adams said it was possible the men jumped over the fence, which is lined at the top with barbed wire.

Jordan said a jail employee monitors the recreation yard by watching the surveillance cameras placed around it. Adams said the person monitoring did not see the two escape; the employee noticed they were missing after they fled. 

"Undoubtedly, they slipped out and he looked and they were gone," Jordan said.

A large gaping hole covered by black cloth was found at the bottom right of one gate.

Tuesday night, law enforcement agencies in Hopkins County surrounded a wooded area, where they believed two dangerous escapees might be hiding out. However, as night turned into early morning, there was still no sighting of the escapees.

All schools in Sulphur Springs were placed on lockdown Tuesday morning as authorities searched for the two men who escaped at about 8 a.m.

"Certainly, we're going to do our best to get them back," Adams said.

County Judge Chris Brown told News 8 that a thermal imaging device used to identify heat sources detected two targets around 8:30 p.m. Tuesday in a wooded area not far from the jail.

"There are a lot of signs that pointed us to that location," Brown said. "They've got the area surrounded; they've brought in the SWAT team."

Brown said two men were spotted running near that location and that dogs picked up on the scent.

But by 10:40 p.m., search teams were regrouping at the command center; the inmates had not been located. A short time later, the search was suspended until Wednesday morning.

Tuesday, authorities searched a two to three mile area around Sulphur Springs with dogs and horses on the ground while their helicopter flew overhead.

Jordan said they found jail uniforms on nearby train tracks as they searched for the men. Adams said a resident reported seeing the two "within five to 10 minutes of the time we found them missing."

“They started where we found the uniforms and have tracked it northeast into a pile of brush and that’s where the dogs keep hitting on," Sheriff Adams said. "From what I understand, they found another scent from there that they were still going northeast.”

Both men are considered dangerous. If you have any tips, please contact 903-885-2020.

“If you are in the surrounding area, you need to stay inside," said Sgt. Brad Cummings with the Hopkins Co. Sheriff's Office. "Do not open the doors. If you have blinds, I would suggest you go ahead and lower those.”

Adams urged residents to report any suspicious behavior they see and vowed to investigate each tip.

"I'm big on nosy neighbors," the sheriff said. "If you see anything, call." 

Authorities also reminded the public that aiding a fugitive is a crime.

Tucker is accused of fatally strangling Bobby Riley with a shoelace during a 2011 robbery, according to an indictment. Tucker was previously convicted of burglarizing a building and driving while intoxicated at least three times, the indictment read.

Tucker is 5'7", 171 pounds and has brown hair, brown eyes, medium build and a light mustache and goatee. He also has tattoo of a barbed wire design on his neck.

King is 5'8", 165 pounds and has black hair, hazel eyes, medium build and a light mustache and goatee.

The U.S. Marshals, the Department of Public Safety and sheriff's departments from surrounding communities are all aiding in the search.  

Adams said that while the jail has "a lot of maintenance problems" and was "a little overcrowded,"  he didn't feel either issue contributed to Tucker and King's escape.

Agains, authorities have asked that anyone with information on the escapees' whereabouts call 903-885-2020. There is a $1,000 reward for information leading to their apprehension.

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