Murder suspects escape from Arkansas jail

May 29, 2012 at 2:35 PM

TEXARKANA, Ark., May 29 (UPI) -- Two suspects awaiting trial on murder charges escaped from Miller County Jail in Texarkana, Ark., authorities said Tuesday.

Cortez Rashod Hooper, 23, charged with first-degree murder and aggravated assault, and Quincy Vernard Stewart, 36, held on a capital murder charge from Bowie County, Texas, as well as possession of a controlled substance, were discovered missing Monday morning, CNN reported.

A search of their cell indicated metal bars over a window, looking onto a courtyard, were cut with a hacksaw and mattresses were pushed through the window in an effort to soften the detainees' landing as they jumped to the courtyard, county dispatcher Vanessa Schaeffer said.

Authorities are unable to determine how the escapees got past the jail's 10-foot fence, which is topped with razor wire. A police K-9 unit was brought in, but was unable to track the men, Schaeffer said.

It is also undetermined how Hooper and Stewart had a hacksaw in their possession, the report said.

"It's under investigation. We're asking ourselves the same question," said Chief Deputy Sheriff Duke Schofield.

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