Sunday, 25 August, 2019

Authorities: Escaped Tennessee inmate captured

TBI released two of Curtis Ray Watson's previous mug shots in case he altered his appearance after his escape Tennessee inmate escapes from prison where a top official was found dead
Steven Clarke | 12 August, 2019, 13:41

Law enforcement confirmed it was Watson in the picture and are warning people who live near the West Tennessee State Prison to remain alert and vigilant.

A couple in Lauderdale County alerted police when they saw a man matching Watson's description searching through their refrigerator outside.

Homicide suspect Curtis Watson, 44, escaped from work detail on a tractor at the West Tennessee State Penitentiary in Henning, Tennessee, about 50 miles northeast of Memphis, on Wednesday.

Watson had been seen at her Henning home earlier and fled the prison on a tractor, officials said, as warrants were secured for first-degree murder, especially aggravated burglary, and aggravated sexual battery.

The search is ongoing for escaped inmate Curtis Ray Watson.

The Tennesse Bureau of Investigation stated they were sending a representative to the town and would be providing updates throughout the day.

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Officials discovered the body of Debra Johnson, a employee of 38 years who oversaw the facilities in the western part of the state, Wednesday morning about 11:30. Authorities say Johnson was found deceased in the house with a cord around her neck. Her son, Mychal Austin, told the Tennessean that she was deeply religious and believed everyone deserved a second chance, including the inmates, who she strove to treat humanely.

"He could be anywhere", TBI Director David Rausch said. He drove away from the prison sometime between 9 and 10 a.m. on a tractor, the affidavit says.

They called police after recognizing Watson from news coverage surrounding his escape. He illegally confined his wife while using an aluminum baseball bat in July 2012, court documents showed. She was also sexually assaulted. His prior conviction for child abuse expired in 2011, authorities said.

"The family of Curtis Watson would like to extend their deepest and most heartfelt sympathies to the family of Ms Debra Johnson", Pole said.

"I can assure you that our office will be resolved to see that he is put back where he can never escape again and harm anybody in our communities", Davidson added. They offered a reward of $52,500 for information leading to his capture, and hundreds of tips poured in.

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