Update: Community members hold escaped accused murderer at gunpoint in Prairie County



DES ARC, Ark. – An accused murderer is back behind bars after escaping the Prairie County Jail Thursday night.

Earl Parks, and another inmate, Craig Gilliam, rushed a guard when he was checking on an elderly inmate. The stole the jail keys, push another guard down, and ran out the sally port.

Gilliam was caught within minutes of escaping, but Earl Parks, who is accused of murder, was caught this morning by two people in the community.

Brad Knupp says around 7:30 this morning he went to check a car he was working on when he noticed something strange.

“Something in the back seat caught my eye as not being normal. The closer I looked, I could tell this guy was lying in the back seat of my car covered up with plastic that was already in the car,” Knupp said.

He quickly realized is was Earl Parks, who escaped from the Prairie County Jail Thursday night.

“We just covered this area and set up a perimeter. We knew he was in here somewhere. We looked in a lot of cars last night we just didn’t look in the right one,” Prairie County Sheriff Rick Hickman said.

Hickman says at one point Parks swam across backwater of the White River which lead him to Knupp’s old car.

“I did have a firearm in my truck so I went over to my truck and got my pistol,” Knupp said.

Knupp says he and his dad held Parks at gunpoint until law enforcement could get there.

“He put his hands in the air and he said ‘I don’t mean anybody any harm.’ He got out of the car and I told him to get on the ground and put his hands behind his head. He did that,” Knupp explained.

Sheriff Hickman says he was floored when he got the call the Knupp’s had Parks.

“I’ve known them for years. They are good people,” Knupp said.

Knupp says he’s glad he could help bring Parks back into custody, and be in the right place at the right time.

“I’d be fine if I didn’t have to do anything like that again.”

Parks is now facing charges of escape. He could face charges of aggravated assault.


PRAIRIE COUNTY, Ark.- Prairie County Sheriff Rick Hickman said a father and son who owned a business nearby caught escaped inmate Earl Parks Friday morning.

According to Sheriff Hickman, there was a sick inmate in a pod.

There were two jailers on duty, which Hickman said is normal.

Hickman said one jailer went into the pod to check on the sick inmate when two inmates pushed the jailer down and ran for door of the pod. The sheriff said the duo also pushed down the second jailer who was standing at the door.

According to Hickman, the inmates locked one of the jailers inside the pod and ran out the jail.

Hickman said the two inmates who escaped were Earl Parks, who was in jail for capitol murder, and Craig Gilliam, a federal inmate being held at the Prairie County Jail.

Hickman said Des Arc Police caught Gilliam within 10 minutes. According to Hickman, Des Arc Police saw Parks, but he got away.

The sheriff called in dogs from Brickey’s Prison, Hazen Police, Des Arc Police and Arkansas State Police. The sheriff also said there was a helicopter searching for Parks as well.

According to the sheriff, Parks swam the White River to the other side and ran into the woods.

The sheriff says just before 7:45 Friday morning, a father and son who own a business in the area found the escapee sleeping in a car they were redoing and had on blocks. The sheriff says the father and son held him at gunpoint until the Sheriff’s Office could get there.

According to the sheriff, the two inmates should be charged with escape and aggravated assault.


PRAIRIE COUNTY, Ark.- Earl Parks, who escaped from the Prairie County Jail, has been caught, according to a spokesperson with Arkansas State Police.

According to a post on the Prairie County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page, Parks is back in custody “thanks to two armed citizens”.

Original Story:

The Arkansas State Police and Prairie County Sheriff’s Department are looking for a man who escaped from jail.

47-year-old Earl Parks escaped from the Prairie County Jail just before midnight April 23rd.

According to the Prairie County Sheriff’s Department, Parks was arrested in January for Capital Murder, Abuse of a Corpse, Tampering with Evidence, and Possession of Firearms. He was being held without bond.

If you have any information, call the sheriff’s department at (870) 256-4137.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Trending Stories

Don't Miss