MONTICELLO, Ark. – Those in Monticello are going to sleep with locked doors as the search for an escaped Drew County inmate continues.
Law enforcement says detainee Brandon Cox was at a doctor’s appointment at Mainline Health Systems on Jordan Drive when he overpowered a deputy and escaped. Cox had been scheduled for an appointment and had asked to use the restroom. His “belly chain” and shackles were loosed by the transportation deputy so that he could use the bathroom and when he returned to have them locked, he fought the deputy, ran out a side fire door, and into the woods behind the clinic.
Chief Deputy Brian Slaughter of Drew County says Cox still had his ankle shackles on, and had kicked off his shoes prior to running into the brush. He’s wearing a bright orange jumpsuit that makes him highly visible.
Throughout the day, DCSD was joined by Monticello Police, Arkansas State Police, the Arkansas Department of Corrections, Game and Fish employees, and Arkansas Forest officials. ASP brought in a helicopter to aid in the search, and dog teams were used to try and track down Cox. Slaughter said the combined effort was needed to quickly track down the fugitive.
“To have an escape like this,” Slaughter explained, “we’re going to use all our resources to put him back to jail.”
For residents of Monticello like Marcus Evans, the manhunt has been chaotic and confusing. Evans said he doesn’t fully know what’s going on, and believes if Cox was able to run into the woods, he would be difficult to find.
“Monticello is actually bigger than you think,” Evans explained, saying how he’s lived in the city for 11 years but still discovers new areas on a weekly basis.
He added, “police need to help us out and catch him because we don’t know [what’s going on].”
Cox had been charged with a collection of felonies, including first-degree domestic battery and kidnapping. He has tried to escape before, and Slaughter referred to him as a “runner” then when eventually caught, was usually complicate with his arrest.
Deputies encourage those in Monticello to keep their doors locked at all times, including those to sheds and other smaller buildings. They encourage everyone to take their keys out of their trucks and cars to prevent Cox from stealing transportation and say anyone with information should call the Drew County Sheriff’s Office or Monticello Police.
Efforts have paused for the night with Cox still at large, but Drew County Sheriff’s Deputies say the perimeter of their nearly 5-square-mile search area will be held until morning. Teams plan to return to the search at first light.