The active search for escapees from the Hopkins County jail continued Thursday following a flurry of activity Wednesday evening.
Brian Allen Tucker, a 45-year-old capital murder suspect from Sulphur Springs, and John Marlin King, a 40-year-old from Cumby convicted of burglary, escaped at about 8 a.m. Tuesday morning by breaching a fence at the county jail, officials said. The two seem to have literally slipped through an opening in the fence, possibly after hurriedly damaging the fence while out during morning exercise, they said.
King was reported by a local woman to be near the Hunt County-Hopkins County line late Wednesday afternoon, said Sgt. Brad Cummings of the sheriff's department. The woman, whose identifying information was not released, is an acquaintance of King’s who lives just southeast of Commerce on a farm-to-market road off of State Hwy. 11, Cummings said.
King reportedly sought food from the woman, who obliged his request, officials said. King then left in a black SUV, the driver of which she could not identify, they said.
The SUV could be the same vehicle reported stolen from Sulphur Springs on Wednesday, Cummings said. That vehicle is a black 2010 Saturn Vue with Texas license plate CR6 D 425. It was stolen from a residence on Houston Street in Sulphur Springs, Cummings said. There was a gun in the SUV, so whoever stole the vehicle likely now has the gun as well, he said.
Law enforcement officers increased their search in the eastern Hunt County-western Hopkins County area in response to the report. But neither officers nor anyone else has since reported seeing either of the escapees or the black Saturn SUV, Cummings said.
Commerce residents noted the presence of official vehicles gathered in the parking lot of the Commerce Wal Mart on Wednesday afternoon, as law enforcement used the parking lot as a temporary command center.
Nightfall and reduced visibility slowed Wednesday night’s search, which continued through the day Thursday with no significant developments, he said. The active-search phase of the effort remains in effect, with no timeline for stopping the active-search process, he said.
Tucker is 5'7", 171 pounds and has brown hair, brown eyes, medium build and a light mustache and goatee. He also has tattoo of a barbed wire design on his neck. King is 5'8", 165 pounds and has black hair, hazel eyes, medium build and a light mustache and goatee.
The Texas Department of Public Safety, Texas Rangers, U.S. Marshals, Texas Department of Corrections, Sulphur Springs police and area county sheriff's departments have all aided in the search.
Tucker was being held on $1 million bond in the 2011 death of Bobby Riley of Mahoney. Riley was found strangled in his home and some music instruments and firearms had been stolen. Jury selection in his murder trial was set to begin June 3. Tucker was previously convicted of burglary and driving while intoxicated, and has been arrested several times for violating parole.
King was being held on several charges, including evading arrest, burglary and possession of a controlled substance. He’s been convicted previously of burglary and possession of a controlled substance. According to court documents, he pleaded guilty last month to the possession charge as a habitual offender and received a sentence of 40 years in prison.