SWAINSBORO — Three suspects, including a man who pleaded guilty in two Bryan County kidnappings that happened last winter, remained at large after six inmates escaped from the Emanuel County Jail over the weekend, authorities said.
Another of the escapees who broke out of the jail Saturday night is a man accused of murder, The Augusta Chronicle reported.
The men escaped around 11 p.m. through a door into a plumbing mechanical area in the jail, Emanuel County Sheriff Tyson Stephens said. The jail had plumbing work done Friday night and a worker neglected to lock a door, he said.
Once the men got into the mechanical area, they were able to reach the roof and then climb down to freedom, the sheriff said.
Three inmates were back in custody by 6 p.m. Sunday, but three others remained at large, Stephens said.
In a news release issued Monday, the FBI’s Atlanta Field Office offered a reward of up to $5,000 for information leading to the apprehension of Cecil “Red” Dewitt Nelson, 33, of Pembroke.
On Aug. 16, Nelson pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to kidnap. Together with Gary McDonald, 36, of Statesboro, and Antonio Lamont Murray, 30, of Pembroke, Nelson took part in two kidnappings in Bryan County — one in December and the other in January. In both cases, the victims were abducted at gunpoint and released after ransoms were paid.
Nelson is suspected to have returned to Pembroke after escaping the Emanuel County Jail, FBI Special Agent in Charge Mark F. Giuliano said in the Monday news release.
Nelson is described as black, 5 feet 11 inches tall and 245 pounds, Giuliano said.
Anyone with information regarding Nelson’s whereabouts should contact either the FBI’s Atlanta office or Savannah Resident Agency at (912) 232-3716 or Savannah Crime Stoppers at (912) 234-2020.
One of the inmates who was back behind bars had escaped from the Emanuel County jail before, in 2002, according to records from the Georgia Department of Corrections.
That inmate, who The Augusta Chronicle identified as Eric Lashawn Barney, 32, was sentenced to five years for escape, on top of the five he had received for entering a vehicle.
"I have been chasing him around since he was 8 or 10," Stephens said. "I'm glad to have him back."
Another man still at large Monday, Michael Shepherd Findley, 24, has been charged in a fatal stabbing that happened in December. He is described as white, 5 feet 7 inches tall and 140 pounds, according to The Chronicle.