Escapee Task Force Formed

A multi-agency task force has been formed to help capture two escaped prisoners from the Russell County Jail. The task force will be made up of officers from Russell County and surrounding areas from Alabama and Georgia. They will start work this afternoon.

Over the weekend officers searched a railroad track in Columbus after a possible sighting...and a railroad bridge across the Chattahoochee River.

Authorities continue using tracking dogs in the hunt for 17 year old Johnny Earl Jones, who was charged in the murder of a two-year-old child he was baby-sitting. A second fugitive -- 19 year old Lamar Elan Benton -- is charged in the murder and rape of a 39-year-old woman. Both homicides occurred last year.

Russell County Sheriff Tommy Boswell said a third murder suspect, 33 year old Brent Edward Martin, got out with Jones and Benton early Saturday but was quickly recaptured by officers. The sheriff said one guard, Matthew Waldrup, was stabbed 15 times with a makeshift knife and is recovering at home.

Boswell said the three went to the front of the jail, where they knocked down another officer, took her keys and escaped. The sheriff says the Russell County Jail, like many in Alabama, is operating beyond its designed capacity of 220. The facility was holding about 300 inmates when the escape occurred. Police have asked the public for help, but information has been scarce.