911 calls revealed in capture of escaped inmate, Watson’s daughter speaks after his capture

Curtis Watson held in segregation ahead of court appearance

HENNING, Tenn. (WMC) - Newly-released 911 calls help paint a picture of the capture of escaped West Tennessee inmate Curtis Watson.

Watson was captured Sunday coming out of a soybean field, just miles away from West Tennessee State Penitentiary, where he escaped Wednesday.

Curtis Watson (Source: TBI)
Curtis Watson (Source: TBI) (Source: TBI)

Curtis Ray Watson is being held in Tipton County, at the request of the state. The Tipton County Sheriff’s Office said Monday Watson is being held in segregation.

“I believe I see Watson at our house,” one caller said.

911 calls revealed in capture of escaped inmate

That call was made at 3:30 Sunday morning by Harvey Taylor in Henning, when his home surveillance camera captured Curtis Ray Watson rummaging through his outdoor refrigerator and roaming around his property.

Authorities zeroed in. Hours later, Watson would be captured, in a field 750 yards from the Taylor’s home by two female correctional officers.

“Do you have eyes on him,” the dispatcher asks another caller, “Yes ma’am. He’s surrendered. He’s on the ground.”

Watson is charged with murder in the Wednesday killing of 64-year-old prison administrator Debra Johnson in her home on the grounds of the West Tennessee State Penitentiary in Lauderdale County. Investigators said Watson, a prison trusty, strangled Johnson, a 38-year state employee, and sexually assaulted her.

The ensuing manhunt lasted five days, involved hundreds of law enforcement officers and ended steps away from a Henning church on Sunday between Sunday school and the preaching hour.

“We believe in prayer. We believe God answers prayer. We know he does. And he answered this one,” said Homer Meyer, at the church.

Watson’s daughter 19-year old Harley Pole told Burton Staggs, a west Tennessee journalist, that she heard about her father’s escape last week, first through Facebook. She had police protection in Benton County, Tennessee until he was captured.

“I pretty much stayed hidden, and I was too scared to even go outside because I could not stop looking over my shoulder,” Pole told Staggs.

Pole said she did not have much of a relationship with her father and last spoke to him a month ago. She said she’s confused and processing the horrific crimes he’s been accused of, as prosecutors acknowledge they are considering the death penalty.

“I don’t understand why he done this, and I never thought he was capable of this,” she said, “I feel like I don’t know him now after those charges.”

Watson will face a judge for the first time Wednesday in Lauderdale County.

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