SAN ANTONIO, Texas (Reuters) - An inmate suspected of strangling a man with shoelaces escaped with a fellow prisoner from a Texas jail on Tuesday, triggering a manhunt for what authorities described as two dangerous fugitives, possibly clad in nothing but their underwear.
“They squeezed their way through the fence somehow,” said Sergeant Brad Cummings, a spokesman for the Hopkins County Sheriff’s office in Sulphur Springs, Texas, about 80 miles northeast of Dallas.
The men escaped from the county jail recreation yard and their black-and-white prison uniforms were later found on the outskirts of the detention facility, which has a capacity to house about 200 inmates, he said.
“Officers were notified that the two subjects had left the jail, and we immediately set up a command post and notified all surrounding agencies, and all schools within our county are on lockdown,” Cummings said.
He said one of the escapees, Brian Allen Tucker, 44, was awaiting trial for capital murder stemming from the 2011 killing of an acquaintance, 63-year-old Bobby Riley, who was strangled with shoelaces before being robbed.
John Marlin King, 39, a burglary suspect in another case unrelated to the shoelace killing, escaped along with Tucker.
“We do not know if they have weapons of any kind at this point, but they should be considered extremely dangerous,” Cummings said.
Since the men discarded their jail uniforms, Cummings said they may have fled with nothing but their prison-issue white T-shirts and boxer shorts to protect them from the elements.
“It could be that they’re possibly just in their underwear,” he said.
Reporting by Jim Forsyth and Tom Brown, editing by Scott Malone and Gunna Dickson