|Updated: 10/30/2012 1:57 pm
||Published: 10/29/2012 3:32 pm
UPDATE: Police say there have been reports of Reese being seen near a house in Humnoke. The home was searched, but Reese was not found. FOX16's Dustin Barnes will have a live update on FOX16 News at 5pm.
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Authorities were searching for a convicted killer who escaped Monday from an Arkansas prison where he was serving a 40-year sentence for first-degree murder.
Curtis Reese Jr., 33, and another inmate escaped from the Tucker Unit about 1:30 p.m., leaving the prison in a water tank atop an 18-wheel tractor-trailer and then jumping off, Arkansas Department of Correction spokeswoman Shea Wilson said.
The other inmate, 40-year-old James B. Ryan, was back in custody Monday afternoon.
The Tucker Unit is about 25 miles northeast of Pine Bluff. Authorities were scouring the area where the inmates jumped off, between Tucker and the nearby town of England. Arkansas State Police were helping search the area by helicopter, while officers took to the ground on horseback and in vehicles, Wilson said.
"We're just focused right now on getting (Reese) back in custody," Wilson said.
Ryan was injured in the escape and there is a good chance Reese is still in the area, Wilson said.
"Both of them are believed to have jumped off a moving 18-wheeler," she said, noting both Ryan and Reese were assigned to work refurbishing trucks for the Arkansas Forestry Commission.
She said she didn't know if they were working on the truck they escaped in Monday, but said they somehow managed to get in the tank. It wasn't holding water.
Both Ryan and Reese were convicted of first-degree murder, according to prison records.
Reese was convicted of two counts of first-degree murder in the 1997 deaths of Eric Ogden and Lance Kelloms, according to Saline County court records. He was sentenced to two concurrent 40-year prison terms.
Ryan, meanwhile, has been serving a 30-year prison sentence for first-degree murder in Pulaski County, according to prison records. Ryan was also convicted of drug charges, a weapons charge and other offenses.
Wilson, the correction spokeswoman, said Reese and Ryan apparently managed to get atop the tractor-trailer while it was on prison grounds.
Reese is white, has green eyes, is about 5 feet 10 inches tall and weighs about 176 pounds, according to prison records. He also has tattoos of swastikas and skulls.
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