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Officers search for EMSH escapee

By By Marianne Todd/The Meridian Star
March 8, 2001
Lauderdale County law officers searched a wooded area in Collinsville for three hours Wednesday but were unable to locate an escapee from East Mississippi State Hospital.
Maj. Ward Calhoun of the Lauderdale County Sheriff's Department said the patient, Mike Jones, of Smith County, was not believed to be armed and may have become lost while trying to make his way home. Even so, Calhoun cautioned area residents to lock their car and house doors until Jones is found.
Calhoun said deputies spotted the man walking along Highway 19 North, but were unaware at the time that hospital officials were searching for him. A deputy became suspicious when he attempted to talk with Jones, who ran into woods near Center Hill Martin Road. Deputies lined that road and nearby Wildcat Road, along with more than 20 volunteer firefighters from Suqualena, Martin, Collinsville and Pine Springs volunteer fire departments. Residents also came out to watch for Jones.
Sheriff Billy Sollie spent most of his time with Calhoun, Deputy Jim Bristow and his K-9 officer, Chris, combing the woods. The search yielded two of Jones' shirts.
Deputies will remain in the area in search of Jones and are asking for residents' help. Jones is described as a black male, 21 years old, with bushy hair and wearing blue jeans and no shirt. Any one spotting him is urged to call 911, Calhoun said.
Officials at East Mississippi State Hospital issued a warrant for Jones' return Wednesday afternoon.
Marianne Todd is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. E-mail her at mtodd@themeridianstar.com.

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