Escapee painted truck black to avoid capture - - The News for South Mississippi

Escapee painted truck black to avoid capture

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Michael Dowda (Photo source: Bibb Co. Jail) Michael Dowda (Photo source: Bibb Co. Jail)

A nearly three day manhunt for escaped Mississippi inmate Michael Dowda came to an end early Tuesday morning nearly 500 miles away in Georgia. Investigators say tips played a big role in his capture.

"We wouldn't have been able to catch him without the public and as well as the individuals that called in to help," said Christopher Felix, supervisor inspector with the U.S. Marshal's Office out of Oxford.

Dowda, 48, managed to escape over the weekend while on a work detail at the state penitentiary. That's where he's serving a life sentence for the 1996 murder of his girlfriend, Lynette Jarrett, in Harrison County. The Department of Corrections believes Dowda broke into an employee's home and stole two handguns before taking off in the same employee's white truck.

Felix said Dowda painted the truck black to avoid detection, but was tracked down in Macon, Georgia.

"When the officers in Georgia identified the vehicle and used their flashlight to flash on the tag, they were able to identify it being a Mississippi plate. At that point, the escapee was asleep in the vehicle," said Felix. "When they flashed the flashlight on the tag, he woke up and at that point he tried to flee from the parking lot. However, he was blocked in and could not get out."

Once he realized he was blocked in, Felix said Dowda surrendered peacefully. That's a scenario he's been in before with a previous escape. Back in 1998, Dowda and three other inmates escaped from the Harrison County Jail. That's where he was being held before his murder conviction.

Making a second run from the law has family members of the victim questioning the prison system's security.

"A convicted murderer with a life sentence who had a history of escape, escaping again? He was not supervised well enough," said the victim's niece, Tanya Farrell.

Dowda now faces extradition to Mississippi and multiple charges, including escape.

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