A nearly three day manhunt for escaped Mississippi inmate, Michael Dowda, came to an end early Tuesday morning nearly 500 miles away in Georgia. Investigators say tips played a big role in his capture.
"We wouldn't have been able to catch him without the public and as well as the individuals that called in to help," said Christopher Felix, supervisor inspector with the U.S. Marshal's Office out of Oxford
Dowda, 48, managed to escape over the weekend while on a work detail at the state penitentiary. That's where he's serving a life sentence for the 1996 murder of his girlfriend Lynette Jarrett in Harrison County. The Department of Corrections believes Dowda broke into an employee's home and stole two handguns before taking off in the same employee's white truck.
Felix says Dowda painted the truck black to avoid detection but was found in a Macon, Georgia parking lot with the same licence plate.
"When the officers in Georgia identified the vehicle and used their flashlight to flash on the tag, they were able to identify it being a Mississippi plate. At that point the escapee was asleep in the vehicle," said Felix. "When they flashed the flashlight on the tag he woke up and at that point he tried to flee from the parking lot. However, he was blocked in and could not get out."
Once blocked in, Felix says Dowda surrendered peacefully. That's a scenario he's been in before with a previous escape. Back in 1998, Dowda and three other inmates escaped from the Harrison County Jail. That's where he was being held before his murder conviction.
Getting his second run from the law has family members of the victim questioning the prison system's security.
"A convicted murderer with a life sentence who had a history of escape, escaping again, he was not supervised well enough," said Tanya Farrell, the niece of Lynette Jarrett.
Dowda now faces extradition to Mississippi and multiple charges including escape.
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