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franklin county times

Authorities: Two escapees still at large

By By Sheila Blackmon/The Meridian Star
June 7, 2001
Newton and Kemper County authorities Wednesday continued searching for two jail escapees who so far have eluded recapture.
Efforts to recapture Mark McElhenny, who was arrested on a child exploitation charge and escaped custody last week, have extended to the north Mississippi town of Pontotoc, according to Newton County Chief Deputy Bill Truhitt said.
In the meantime, deputies are also following up on other leads.
McElhenny, 35, was arrested at a house in Morton on May 29 and escaped the next day from the Newton County Sheriff's Department booking area while Municipal Judge Danny Clearman was setting his bond.
Clearman said he set the bond at $1 million because McElhenny was on bond from another jurisdiction at the time of his arrest in Newton County.
Newton County deputies arrested McElhenny after he allegedly exposed himself and made inappropriate comments to minors at a Decatur trailer park, Newton County Sheriff Jackie Knight said.
Meanwhile, a spokesman at the Kemper County Sheriff's Department said Woodie Moody, who escaped last month from the Kemper-Neshoba Regional Correctional Facility in DeKalb, remains at large.
Forty-year-old Moody went missing from a work detail on May 17. Prison officials said he apparently scaled a security fence to escape.
Moody was seen riding a stolen horse through Newton County down Highway 492 four days later, Newton County authorities said.
Truhitt said the horse was found at the Newton County line near Sebastopol. Witnesses along Highway 492 and at Peacock's store in Union identified Moody from a photo line-up, he said.
Truhitt said Wednesday no one in Newton County has reported seeing Moody since then.
He said Moody is originally from south Mississippi and has family in north Mississippi. He said Moody was incarcerated for a non-violent offense and is not considered dangerous.
Truhitt said a Mississippi Department of Corrections official was in the area recently following up on leads.
Anyone with any information as to McElhenny's whereabouts should call the Newton County Sheriff's Department at 635-2101. Anyone with any information as to Moody's whereabouts should call Kemper-Neshoba prison officials at 743-5767 or the Kemper County Sheriff's Department at 743-2255.
Sheila Blackmon is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. Call her at 693-1551, ext. 3275, or e-mail her at sblackmon@themeridianstar.com.