Reward for escapees rises

By Ben Watson - bio | email

JACKSON, TN (WMC-TV) - Lawmen searching for two Louisiana escapees held a news conference Monday to announce the reward for the fugitives is now up to $9,500.

Investigators searching for Rickey Wedgeworth and Darian Pierce issued a strong warning for people who live in Jackson, Tennessee.

"They're dangerous and the public should consider that," said Col. Michael Edmonson with the Louisiana State Police.  "If something looks out of the ordinary, anything out of the ordinary, call us.  Because believe me, that's how we are going to find them."

Investigators urged residents to be on the lookout for suspicious activity and make sure their homes and cars are locked.

"We're asking the general public to not let their guard down," said Madison County Sheriff David Wolfork.

Authorities laid out a timeline, saying the convicts stole a prison van with the keys in it on March 4 and drove it to St. Francisville, Louisiana.

"They were able to talk someone into driving them to Vicksburg, Mississippi," said Edmonson.

In Vicksburg, investigators said the convicts abducted a man and stole his vehicle.  Authorities believe they later murdered the man and dumped his body in Alabama.

The stolen vehicle was later captured on a trooper's dash cam.

Edmonson said nearly 100 lawmen from the TBI, FBI and other agencies are part of the manhunt.  He also made a promise to the widow of the man the convicts allegedly murdered.

"She said, 'please find them, please find the people who killed my husband,'" said Edmonson.  "And I told her we would."

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