Arkansas Escaped Inmates Spur Manhunt

PHOTO: Quincy Vernard Stewart, 36, left, and Cortez Rashod Hooper, 23, escaped from Miller County Jail in Arkansas Monday morning and are on the lam from authorities.
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Two alleged killers who broke out of an Arkansas jail early Monday morning are the subject of a manhunt today.

Sheriff's officers in Miller County, Ark., are hunting for Quincy Vernard Stewart, 36, and Cortez Rashod Hooper, 23, who used blades from a hacksaw to saw off three bars of a jail window and escape sometime between 3:15 a.m. and 4:30 a.m. Monday.

The pair rammed through a glass window and used a mattress cover tied to some of the bars to lower themselves closer to the ground before jumping. They then made it through two fences, one topped with razor wire, and crawled under the other until running into the woods, Chief Dep. Duke Schofield.

Hooper was being held on first-degree murder charges and Stewart capital murder, reportedly in another county.

Schofield said that police dogs tracked the scent of the two men through the woods and to the highway, where the dogs lost them and police believe the men were picked up by a vehicle. Jail uniforms were found in the street up the road, with no scent trail around them, leading investigators to speculate that one of the men dropped the uniform out of the vehicle.

Police today are combing through addresses and phone numbers of the men's family and friends, including acquaintances they might have known "from past adventures out in the streets," Schofield said.

They are also investigating how the men obtained the hacksaw blades.

"Somebody got the hacksaw blades to them, and we don't know if they were handed off during a transport, or during a court appearance, or what, but there is an internal investigation into that and we think we know. We're just trying to get enough proof," Schofield said.

The men were checked on by police guards at 3:15 a.m., but were discovered missing during the next round of checks at 4:30 a.m., he said.

Police believe they are still in the Texarkana area on the border of Arkansas and Texas.

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