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franklin county times

Escapee captured in Memphis

By Staff
Jason Houston Acting Publisher
A Franklin County inmate who walked off from a work release program last weekend was captured in Memphis, Tenn., late Thursday night, and told investigators he was a suspect in a homicide case in Alabama, according to reports.
Officials are investigating if the inmate's statement is related to the discovery of a dead man near Bates Landing south of Phil Campbell early Thursday.
Sheriff Larry Plott said Friday the man's body has been identified as Ronald Max Vernon, 54, of Tuscumbia, the second of the two inmates who escaped last week.
According to investigators, two men did not return to the jail Sunday from a work release program. Along with Vernon, Christopher John Clark, 29, of Zelda Lane in Memphis, Tenn., also escaped. Both were in jail for stolen property charges.
Clark was captured in Memphis after leading police on a high-speed chase, caught on camera by a local television news crew.
According to Memphis media outlets, Clark was arrested and charged with four counts of carjackings that reportedly took place Thursday in Memphis.
Franklin County Investigators were in Memphis Friday to interview Clark. Currently, he only faces escape charges in Franklin County. Plott said the current investigation could result in additional charges.
Plott said his department was notified Thursday morning that a local resident out walking discovered the male body about 40 to 50 feet north of the road leading to Bates Landing. The body was found in a soybean field, Plott said, and was beginning to decompose.
"A person was just out walking, going for a stroll, who usually walks for exercise in that area," Plott said. "The person smelled an odor, walked around to look and saw a person's hand."
Plott said it was not known how long the man's body had been in the field.
After the report was called in, state forensics officers and agents with the Alabama Bureau of Investigation arrived to help process the scene.
The investigation is being treated as a homicide, Plott said, and an autopsy will now be performed. The sheriff's department is working with the District Attorney's office, the ABI, and other area agencies in the investigation.

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