Published: Sun, August 11, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

TBI searching for "extremely dangerous" escapee

TBI searching for

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation announced Thursday that warrants for those charges had been obtained for fugitive Curtis Ray Watson, who is a suspect in the murder of an administrator at the West Tennessee State Penitentiary, where he escaped Wednesday.

He was a minimum custody offender, News 4 reported, and had a job as a farm laborer at the prison.

"He could be anywhere", Rausch said.

Tennessee also activated their state prison escape plan, which brings together a multitude of organizations and agencies to deploy as many resources as possible in the pursuit and apprehension of Watson.

Watson is 5-foot-11 and 140 pounds with brown eyes and potentially a long gray beard, officials said. Authorities believe he escaped from the prison on a tractor that was found a mile from the prison.

"Everything about Debra exemplified professionalism and her care for both the people she worked for, worked with, and the inmates that she served on a daily basis..." said Tony Parker, Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Correction. For more information on the case, and pictures of Watson's various tattoos, visit the link below.

The body was found around 11:30 a.m., officials said.

The Tennessee Department of Corrections identified the inmate as Curtis Ray Watson, who turned 44 Wednesday.

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A civil emergency has been issued for Tennessee and Southern Kentucky. TBI issued additional photos of Watson in the event he has attempted to alter his appearance.

Do not approach Watson if you see him, as he is considered extremely risky.

Watson had been considered a person of interest in the killing of corrections administrator Debra Johnson, 64. The facility is about 60 miles from Memphis.

He started his sentence in 2013 and was expected to be released in 2025, according to TBI.

Residents are asked to check trail cameras and other video surveillance cameras in the area for any sign of Watson, and to talk to their neighbors.

Watson was serving a 15-year sentence on an especially aggravated kidnapping conviction out of Henry County.

Watson had previously been convicted of aggravated child abuse in Carroll County. The total reward, adding on money from TBI, the FBI, the U.S. Marshals Service and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, now stands at $52,500, DeVine said. If you see him call 911.

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