(HOPKINS COUNTY, Texas) — Texas authorities searching for two “extremely dangerous” escaped inmates are concerned with the volatile and unpredictable nature of the fugitives, one of whom is facing capital murder charges.
“When you’re dealing with someone really trying to avoid jail time, survival instincts kick in and you try to avoid apprehension at all costs,” Hopkins County Sgt. Brad Cummings told ABC News on Wednesday.
“One has been indicted for capital murder so you never know if he might do that again and if the other guy may help him,” Cummings said. “You just never know the mindset of a fugitive when they escape custody.”
Brian Tucker, 44, and John King, 39, escaped from Hopkins County Jail in Sulphur Springs, Texas, at around 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday.
Tucker is facing capital murder charges for strangling a man to death with shoelaces and King is charged with evading arrest, burglary and substance possession. Cummings said King received a 40-year sentence just two days ago.
“You don’t know the mindset of these guys. It’s possible that they may be out of our area, but it’s possible that they might even be in our area,” Cummings said. “It’s possible they might even double back. You just never know with these type of people.”
Authorities believe the inmates escaped from a recreation yard during some allotted recreational time. They think the men squeezed through a part of the surrounding fencing when a guard assigned to watch them from a window looked away.
Their black and white prison suits were found on the railroad tracks behind the jail and footprints leading away from the jail. Cummings said that underneath the prison suits, inmates wear a white undershirt and a white pair of boxers.
He said authorities speculated that since it was a cold and windy night in Texas, they could have gained access to some other type of clothing. It’s unknown whether they may obtained transportation after leaving the jail yard.
Officers using a thermal imaging device detected two targets in a wooded area near the jail on Tuesday night.
“It doesn’t show if it’s a person or animal, but the heat source did resemble what would be the right size to be a human,” Cummings said. “When officers advanced towards those heat sources, they disappeared. [This] led us to believe that if they were people, they would have been seen running.”
When visibility became minimal under nightfall, the search helicopter was grounded due to the allotted amount of time that the pilot is allowed to fly.
Ground searches with dogs are expected to resume Wednesday and the helicopter is available to aid in the search as well. The search is a multi-agency effort with all surrounding counties, Cummings said.
“Even though they’re still at large and possibly not in our immediate area in our part of the county, we still need to maintain high alert for these two because they are extremely dangerous,” he said. “We’re always playing that what-if game. We don’t want to exhaust any leads that may come up. We consider every possible outcome.”
Authorities are warning people to be careful and call 911 if they see the men.
“If they’re spotted, make sure they lock their doors, call 911 and tell us what area they’re in,” Deputy Alvin Jordan told ABC News on Tuesday. “Don’t try to let them approach you.”
Investigators are talking to people who might know their whereabouts or who might have seen them. Cummings said that helping or hiding the men will be considered a felony.
“If anyone is caught aiding and abetting and providing these guys with a means of alluding custody they will be charged with hindering apprehension,” he said.
Cumming said authorities wish the situation were like an episode of CSI that could be resolved in an hour, but, “Unfortunately, we don’t have the other part of the script.”
Tucker is 5-foot-7-inches and about 170 pounds. He has brown eyes, brown hair and multiple tattoos. King is 5-foot-8-inches and 165 pounds. He has black hair, hazel eyes and multiple tattoos.
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