Search for ‘armed and dangerous’ escaped inmates enters fifth day

Published 10:37 pm Tuesday, July 9, 2019

State law enforcement continue to search for two convicted felons who escaped Friday morning from a state prison in Rankin County.

“We are still pursuing tips statewide,” Mississippi Department of Corrections Commissioner Pelicia Hall said. “We continue to urge citizens to call. No matter where you are, if you think you see these two men, please call us or other law enforcement. Until they are in custody, we don’t know where they are. We are equally concerned about the safety of the public until the two are apprehended.”

Jonathan Blankenship, 31, and Christopher Benson High, 28, have been on the run since early Friday morning when they were discovered missing in an early morning head count. Both have been referred to as being armed and dangerous.

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A business owner in the Pearl area found prison clothing discarded on his property and Jackson media report that another business nearby had been burglarized and clothes were stolen.

Blankenship is serving five years for aggravated assault on a police officer and conspiracy to commit a crime in Alcorn County.

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

The manner in which the men escaped is under investigation, MDOC officials said, adding that because of the active investigation and search, the agency will not discuss how the escape occurred.

The statewide lockdown at the prisons continues as a safety protocol.

“While the MDOC understands family members’ concern about their loved ones, the secure custody and control of incarcerated residents and the safety of our staff are our priority,” Commissioner Hall said.

The MDOC is searching with the help of local, county, federal, and other state law enforcement agencies. Rewards totaling up to $12,500 – $10,000 from the FBI and up to $2,500 from Mississippi Crime Stoppers – are being offered.

If you see Blankenship and High, call the MDOC at 662-745-6611, ext. 4200, Crime Stoppers at 601-355-TIPS (8477), the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation (MBI) at 601-987-1530, or your nearest law enforcement agency.