Manhunt launched after convicts overpower guards and escape prison bus

Tuesday, 27 Jun, 2017

The lethal escape transpired around 6:45 a.m. Tuesday as the two deceased guards were transporting 33 inmates between prisons in Putnam County, Georgia. "The inmates and their vehicle have not been recovered", a post on the Oconee County Sheriff's Office Facebook page states.

Authorities say Rowe and inmate Ricky Dubose escaped after killing two prison guards during a bus transport in Georgia.

Both men are said to be highly risky.

'They just murdered two corrections officers in a brutal fashion, ' Sills said.

Hours later, authorities converged on the small city of Madison, about 25 miles to the north, where they determined the fugitives had ransacked a house around 10.30am on Tuesday. Both men worked as correctional officers at Baldwin State Prison, she said, and the department said they had an "unwavering commitment to their job" and their families. The Department of Corrections said Rowe has been serving life without parole since 2002, and Dubose began a 20-year sentence in 2015.

The names of the prison guards and inmates haven't been released.

The second inmate, Ricky Dubose, was being held on a single armed robbery conviction from 2014 in Elbert, along with convictions for credit card fraud, financial identity fraud, theft by taking, burglary, robbery and a single conviction for entering a vehicle.

Monica, 42, a sergeant, worked for the department for nearly eight years and leaves a wife. A reward of $60,000 is offered for information leading to the arrests of of the inmates. "I have their blood on my shoes", Sills said, adamantly noting that Rowe and Dubose need to surrender before they are found.

The prisoners breached a protective gate on the bus to reach the officers, before disarming and killing them both, the sheriff's office said.

Many local area businesses have reportedly been placed on lock down.

At the house, they ditched their prison garb and changed into street clothes, authorities said.

Authorities believe the escapees drove away from the crime scene toward Eatonton and then headed into Morgan County and eventually the Madison area, where the massive manhunt by local, state and federal law enforcement officers converged Tuesday afternoon and into the night, as well as all day Wednesday.

Georgia Department of Corrections Commissioner Gregory Dozier said, "Our hearts are heavy as we mourn the loss of two of our officers, who are our family, and our priority is to locate these fugitives and bring them to justice for this heinous act against those working to protect the public".

The victims have been identified as 42 year-old Christopher Monica and 58 year-old Curtis Billue.

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal pledged every state resource necessary to catch the pair, and vowed that the guards' selflessness and sacrifice will not be forgotten.

The state Department of Corrections is investigating what went wrong Tuesday.

Sills said the two men may be in the truck, but he did not rule out that they may have split up. Both are being sought by law enforcement. He also has a tattoo featuring large letters covering the entirety of the front of his neck.