Escaped prisoner, murder suspect captured in Tennessee

Curtis Ray Watson, 44, was apprehended on Sunday, four days after escaping from West Tennessee Penitentiary in Henning. Photo courtesy Tennessee Bureau of Investigation

Aug. 11 (UPI) — A convicted kidnapper charged with the death of a corrections administrator after escape from prison in Tennessee is back in custody Sunday following a four-day manhunt, the Tennessee Bureau of Correction announced.

Curtis Ray Watson, who left the West Tennessee Penitentiary on Wednesday in Henning, was captured at approximately 11 a.m. in the town, TBI said in a news release. The prison is about 60 miles north of Memphis.

The TBI tweeted “CAPTURED!” and posted a video after he was taken into custody.

Debra Johnson, a 64-year-old penitentiary corrections administrator, was found dead in her residence on prison grounds one hour after prison officials discovered Watson was missing at 10:30 a.m.

The TBI issued a Blue Alert, which means a violent subject is at large who could endanger the safety of officers.

A warrant was issued charging him with first-degree murder, especially aggravated burglary and aggravated sexual battery.

The TBI praised the “vigilant efforts of search teams” from the Tennessee Department of Correction, Tennessee Highway Patrol, FBI, U.S. Marshal Service, local law enforcement, TBI, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and with “helpful tips from the citizens of Lauderdale County.”

Earlier Sunday, Tennessee Department of Correction said a resident in Henning notified authorities that he was spotted on the family’s property. He had changed his clothing to “camo bib overall” as seen in photos provided by the resident.

Watson, 44, was serving a 15-year sentence on especially aggravated kidnapping since 2013. In 2011, a child abuse conviction expired.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here