Report: Search dogs deployed in search for escaped inmates after discarded prison clothes found

Published 9:48 am Monday, July 8, 2019

Law enforcement officers used tracking dogs to search for two escaped inmates in an area near Interstate 20 in Pearl early Monday morning after prison clothes were found discarded at a business in the area.

Early Friday 31-year-old Jonathan Blankenship and 28-year-old Christopher Benson High, escaped from the Central Mississippi Correctional Facility in Rankin County.

Blankenship was serving five years for conspiracy and aggravated assault on a police officer in Alcorn County. He has a heavily tattooed forehead and throat, and smaller cheek tattoos.

High was serving 12 years for burglary of an unoccupied dwelling in Carroll County.

The FBI has offered $10,000 reward for information leading to their capture and Crime Stoppers has pitched in with an additional. $2,500.

WLBT-TV reported early Monday that agencies were searching a wooded area off Pearson Road, just south of Interstate 20 in Rankin County after prison clothing was found at an electrical business in that area.

Anyone who seeing the men are asked to avoid contact as the pair is considered armed and dangerous. Instead report any sightings or information to the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation at 601-987-1530, MDOC at 601-745-6611, or Crimestoppers at 601-355- TIPS(8477).

The Mississippi Department of Corrections announce Friday afternoon that all state prisons were on lockdown meaning no visitation is allowed and all other privileges are halted.

Another inmate, who also escaped Friday morning, but from a different state prison, was captured late Saturday night.

Benny Ray Blansett, 59, was taken into custody without incident, MDOC officials reported, just before 11 p.m. at a checkpoint in Sunflower County.

He has been returned to the State Penitentiary at Parchman and will face an escape charge. He’s serving a life sentence for forgery, aggravated assault on a police officer, burglary, and escape from the Marion and Sunflower county jails.