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Search continues for escaped convict in Tennessee

Associated Press • Aug 8, 2019 at 9:47 AM

RIPLEY, Tenn. (AP) — Authorities are searching for a Tennessee convict who officials say is a person of interest in the death of a corrections employee and escaped a prison on a tractor.

Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Director David Rausch said the tractor used by 44-year-old Curtis Ray Watson was found about a mile away from the West Tennessee State Penitentiary on Wednesday. The facility is about 60 miles from Memphis.

Department of Correction Commissioner Tony Parker said 64-year-old administrator Debra Johnson was found dead in her residence Wednesday. He said she lived in a property on site.

Watson was serving a 15-year sentence on an especially aggravated kidnapping conviction. He worked at the prison as a farm laborer.

TBI says Watson should be considered extremely dangerous.

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