UPDATE: Rankin County ground search for Florida escapees halted - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

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UPDATE: Rankin County ground search for Florida escapees halted

Source: Rankin County Sheriff's Dept Source: Rankin County Sheriff's Dept
Source: Rankin County Sheriff's Office Source: Rankin County Sheriff's Office
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
RANKIN COUNTY, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Rankin County deputies are halting their ground search for two men who escaped custody in Florida. James Thomas Banks and Michael Andrew Rottuno were last seen in Rankin County.

Sheriff Bryan Bailey said Michael Rottuno was sighted in Longview, Texas Tuesday afternoon, and James Banks is still at-large.

Banks is a 28-year-old white male, 5'10", and weighs 197 lbs. He was last seen wearing a dark blue or purple muscle shirt, blue jeans, and tennis shoes. He has tattoos on both arms.

Rottuno is a 30-year-old white male, 5'7" and weights 160 lbs. He was last seen wearing a blue striped button-up shirt, blue jeans, and brown leather shoes. At the time of the escape, he had a broken right arm in a cast.

They were being transported to Minnesota on criminal charges when they escaped Monday night.

Around 9:24 p.m. a Rankin County deputy was on I-20 west-bound around the Pelahatchie exit when he saw a silver Honda Element driving erratically.

The officer ran the license plate and realized that the car was stolen from Florida earlier that day.

The driver pulled to the side of the roadway then ran into a wooded area.

The passenger then jumped into the driver's seat and tried to escape the officer until he wrecked in a ditch on Hwy 43 just north of the off ramp.

That driver ran into a wooded area as well.

Deputies from the Sheriff’s Department, Pearl Police Department, Pelahatchie Police Department, MHP and area Constables established a perimeter and attempted to located the individuals.

Dispatchers were able to gather more information from Florida law enforcement on the 2 escapees.

Both men escaped custody somewhere between Walton County and Leon County Florida while being transported by a private prisoner transport company to Jackson, Minnesota on criminal charges.  Both individuals have extensive criminal histories, including escape.

A 2002 black Ford F350 was stolen off of Shiloh Road in Rankin County from under a shed. 

The keys were still in the truck. The tag number is 1AP590. Sheriff Bailey says the truck was recently spotted in Louisiana.

If you see anyone matching the description given, do not approach them, but call 911.

Sheriff Bailey says that while the ground search has been halted, deputies will keep patrolling the area around the schools in marked and unmarked vehicles.

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