Authorities are scouring Vicksburg and the surrounding area for an escaped inmate accused of capital murder in the rape and killing of an elderly woman.
Sheriff Martin Pace said Rafael McCloud, 34, escaped from the Warren County Jail on Wednesday morning around 5:30 a.m., using a homemade shank to force a jailer to give him his keys, radio, pants and jacket. McCloud then directed the guard to the bottom floor of the building and left through a side door.
Authorities recovered the radio and keys, along with McCloud’s orange jail shoes, not far from the jail.
McCloud was being held in the death of Sharon Wilson. Wilson, 69, was a missing person until her body was found by ghost hunters outside of the abandoned Kuhn Memorial State Hospital. McCloud was indicted in January by a Warren County grand jury on charges of capital murder, burglary of a dwelling, rape, sexual battery without consent, attempted arson, larceny-motor vehicle and possession of a weapon after felony conviction in connection with Wilson’s slaying.
McCloud was last seen wearing a white T-shirt, the jailer’s green pants and a black jacket. McCloud is described as 5-feet-8 to 5-feet-10 tall and weighs 170 lbs.
Vicksburg Police Chief Walter Armstrong also categorized McCloud as extremely dangerous. Armstrong said he has 25 officers dedicated to canvassing Vicksburg. The Mississippi Bureau of Investigation is also on site.
“We’re checking all of the relatives, all of the contacts that we are aware of that inmate McCloud may have been in contact with in the past. … Investigators are looking into the escape itself to find out exactly what happened,” Sheriff Pace said, adding that they will find the security breach that allowed the escape.
Authorities expressed deep concern connected to McCloud’s mental state.
“Obviously do not approach him,” Pace said. “If they see him and know it’s him, we encourage them to call 911 because that gets us the information the fastest.”
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SOURCE: KVUE – Therese Apel