Sheriff: Girlfriend helped DeSoto County inmate escape

DESOTO COUNTY, MS (WMC) - A Desoto County inmate is on the run after walking away from a job where he was supposed to be supervised.

DeSoto County Sheriff Bill Rasco said Phillip Herron could be anywhere from North Mississippi to Memphis to Millington.

Sheriff Rasco said the escapee got a little help from his girlfriend, who just drove up and picked him up while he worked as a trusty.

"He'd been in our facility in the past and had been a trusty in the prior and never gave us problems," Sheriff Rasco said.

Herron was loaned out to the Hernando Parks and Recreation division, mowing grass at ball fields.

Sheriff Rasco said investigators believe his girlfriend Lauren Bland picked Herron up in downtown Hernando.

The sheriff said Herron was in the parks and recreation building eating his paper bagged lunch the jail made for him. He got up and walked outside and disappeared.

"My problem is they weren't watching him," Sheriff Rasco said.

DeWayne Williams, Director of Parks and Recreation, said he could not comment on whether Herron was being watched.

"All I can say is that we turned our information and statements to the authorities," Williams said. "They're taking that information and as far as I now it is still being investigated."

The Hernando Police Department is located in the front of the building. Investigators believe Bland picked Herron up in a Camaro and they took off.

Investigators have few tips on the couple's whereabouts. Sheriff Rasco said Herron's mother did call him, saying he has not contacted her.

Herron has a lengthy record for nonviolent crimes involving things like drugs and burglary. He was behind bars this last time for a parole violation selling meth.

Sheriff Rasco believes the couple likely has changed vehicles and friends are harboring them, something that could land the friends in trouble.

"He's got a lot of contacts and stuff," Sheriff Rasco said. "They run around with all the same type of people."

Herron, who is 42, was wearing a blue prison outfit with trusty written on it. He likely has changed into other clothing.

Herron is now facing escape charges and Bland is facing charges of being an accomplice in his getaway.

If you know where they are call 662-429-TIPS, or any law enforcement agency.

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