'Dangerous' inmates on run days after cutting through Mo. jail ceiling

One inmate was taken into custody near Casper, Wyoming; U.S. Marshals are still searching for two others


Christopher Blevins was taken into custody near Casper, Wyoming, according to a Barry County Sheriff's Office update on June 8.

By Kaitlyn Alanis
The Charlotte Observer

CASSVILLE, Mo. — Three inmates who “should be considered armed and dangerous” are on the run after escaping from a county jail in Missouri, authorities said.

The men escaped by cutting through the Barry County Jail ceiling and then leaving through a maintenance door early Friday, June 3, a spokesperson with the Barry County Sheriff’s Office told McClatchy News.

Inmates Lance Justin Stephens, Matthew Allen Crawford and Christopher Allen Blevins were still missing as of Tuesday, June 7.

Sheriff Danny Boyd said the ceilings are made of plaster, allowing the fugitives to carve holes in the ceiling before climbing out, ABC News reported. The three men are friends, Boyd said, and two shared a cell as the other was jailed “several feet away.”

Three days after the escape in southwest Missouri, the U.S. Marshals took over the search, according to a Facebook post from the Barry County Sheriff’s Office.

“As of right now from what we have learned all escapees are not in the area and are still being sought by the Marshals at this time,” authorities said.

Boyd believes the men may be in Kansas, KY3 reported.

“The night that they escaped, there was a farm truck out on Y highway that ended up being stolen,” he told the Missouri station. “It’s the same time period that they got out, and they recovered that truck ... over in Kansas.”

In Salina, Kansas, a woman reported her SUV was stolen the night of Saturday, June 4 before it was found about 230 miles west in Sharon Springs, the Salina Post reported. A neighbor told police she saw a man and woman in the area at the time the SUV was stolen.

Surveillance video shows the man and woman who matched the neighbor’s description inside the truck stolen from Barry County, KSAL reported.

Police believe the SUV theft is connected to at least one of the three inmates, according to the Salina Post.

Authorities say the SUV was later abandoned in far western Kansas, where a second vehicle was stolen from the area of Sharon Springs, KSAL reported.

It is not clear if the woman seen in the video is connected to the jail escape.

Two of the three inmates were being held on drug charges, ABC reported, and the other was booked on a stealing charge.

If you see any of the men, authorities ask that you immediately call 911 and do not approach them.

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McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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