(HALIFAX, N.C.) — The mother of a convicted killer who escaped from a North Carolina prison farm said Tuesday her son is “smart enough” to remain on the lam without getting caught.
State authorities have launched a massive manhunt for James Ladd, 51, who walked off the grounds of a minimum-security prison farm on Sunday. Ladd was sentenced to serve three life sentences for the 1980 shooting deaths of two men in Yadkin County.
“No, I haven’t heard from him. I don’t know where he is,” said a sobbing Lena Ladd, 69, when contacted by ABC News.
Her son has been in prison for 31 years, but Lena Ladd said that won’t be a problem for her son. She said he is “smart enough” to still be able to evade the police.
Lena Ladd would not say if she had been in regular contact with her son over the course of his imprisonment.
She said she “couldn’t sleep at all” since learning her son had escaped.
Ladd walked off the grounds Sunday morning of the Tillery Correctional Center, a minimum-security prison farm in Halifax, N.C. Authorities found the tractor he’d been riding abandoned at 10 a.m.
Police dogs were able to track Ladd’s scent only a short distance before the trail went cold, suggesting he may have gotten in a car, said Keith Acree, a spokesman for the state prison system. Helicopters also searched the area.
“The search is continuing,” Acree told ABC News. “But if he got in a car on Sunday, he could be hundreds of miles away.”
Authorities said he caused few problems during his time in prison, being disciplined for only minor infractions, including most recently unauthorized tobacco use. That record of good behavior earned him a bunk at a minimum-security prison and permission to work outside.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Kevin Liptak, CNN
Kathryn Vasel, CNN
Matt Egan, CNN
Jethro Mullen, Ravi Hiranand and Frank Pallotta, CNN