MONTICELLO, Ark. – More than 24 hours after a Drew County inmate ran into the Monticello woods during a doctor’s appointment, law enforcement agents are still searching for escaped criminal Brandon Cox.
With the University of Arkansas Monticello on the border of the search area, campus police are doing all they can to make sure the runaway doesn’t come anywhere close to students. University police were instrumental in the creation of a perimeter around Cox’s possible location, a response chief of police John Kidwell says was near-instantaneous.
“Minutes,” Kidwell explained. “Everything happened in just minutes.”
Police officers have also been stationed around campus, including near the entrances. In addition to the work of law enforcement, the university has been keeping staff and students updated every step of the way with their “rave” system, a way of sending alerts to the emails and phones of those on campus. So far, three have been sent.
When junior Lynsey Foreman got that first notification, she says her first thought was, “Who is it, because what if I had already seen them?”
Foreman had been headed back to class the day Cox escaped. She even saw the extensive perimeter being set up by multiple agencies before she knew what it was.
“Three police cars within 50 yards of each other,” Foreman remembers seeing, “and they would just be sitting there.”
She adds the recommendation of police for her to lock her doors and watch who is let into dorms is a comforting reminder of how serious they’re taking the escape, and she trusts in those on and off-campus to protect students.
Not much was updated in the search for Cox Thursday, but his orange prison jumpsuit was found abandoned on the trail. Deputies with the Drew County Sheriff’s Office say he also most likely ditched his ankle shackles at some point, and it’s not clear what he’s currently wearing.
The search area had been moved a mile and a half west from where teams were concentrated Wednesday after footprints believed to be Cox’s were found. Sheriff Mark Gober says the Arkansas Department of Corrections canine tracking team and the Arkansas Community Corrections fugitive task force have been “suspended” for the time being after his trail appeared to have grown cold. However, he adds the hunt is still on and remaining departments will continue the search until Cox is found.
Anyone who may have seen Cox or has any information on his whereabouts should contact the Drew County Sheriff’s Office at 879-367-6211.