WatsonUPDATE: LAUDERDALE COUNTY, Tenn. (8/11/19) — Tennessee authorities reported a five-day manhunt is over in the search for a West Tennessee State Penitentiary escapee.

Curtis Watson, 44, was taken into custody this morning near a church in Lauderdale County, according to investigators in Tennessee. Authorities released a picture of the wanted man, who was in the back of a police cruiser shortly after 11 a.m.

Tennessee Bureau of Investigation reported a press conference is scheduled 2:30 p.m. at Lauderdale County Justice Complex.

TBI previously reported Watson was being sought in connection to the murder of corrections administrator Debra Johnson, 64, before he left the grounds. Home security video footage showed Watson opening a porch refrigerator early this morning in Henning. One Henning resident told authorities a window screen was cut at her home and tomatoes were missing from her vegetable garden.

Watson was serving a 15-year prison sentence at the facility for child abuse, TBI previously reported. He left the prison grounds on a tractor, which was found abandoned a couple miles away. Watson worked on the prison farm as a laborer.

Watson was served a warrant on the charges of first-degree murder, aggravated burglary and aggravated sexual battery.

TBI credits west Tennessee law enforcement agencies and residents for Watson's capture.

SurfKY News

 

 

WESTERN Tenn. (8/7/19) — Tennessee authorities are searching for a West Tennessee State Penitentiary escapee, named as a person of interest in the homicide of a corrections employee today in Henning, Tennessee.

A statewide Tennessee Blue Alert has been issued for 44-year-old Curtis Ray Watson. He is described as 5-feet-11 and weighs 180-200 pounds, with brown eyes and a long, gray beard. He has a number of tattoos on his body, and is considered “extremely dangerous.”

If seen, authorities recommend people call 911. It is the third time a Blue Alert has been issued in the state, since it was initiated in 2011, TBI reports. Blue Alert utilizes the existing statewide AMBER Alert system to issue critical information to apprehend violent criminals or aid in finding a missing officer involving foul play.

Tennessee Bureau of Investigations reported its agents are investigating the homicide of Debra Johnson, 64, who was an administrator at the prison. She was a 38-year veteran for the state of Tennessee, previously serving as a corrections officer and warden.

Tennessee Department of Corrections Commissioner Tony Parker reported Johnson was found dead inside her residence 11:30 p.m. on the grounds of the penitentiary. Foul play is suspected. Watson is serving a 15-year sentence on aggravated kidnapping in Henry County that is set to expire in six years. Watson was previously convicted of child abuse in Carroll County. He was working as a farm laborer and reportedly fled on a tractor.

The facility was under lockdown earlier, and after a headcount, Watson was missing from a work detail, the commissioner stated. Special agents and forensic scientists are working through the night to investigate the crime scene.

Curtis W tats

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