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Mississippi jail escapee caught in Texas as manhunt continues for 2 surviving inmates, sheriff says

<i>St Mary Missionary Baptist Church</i><br/>
Anthony Watts
St Mary Missionary Baptist Church

By Elizabeth Wolfe, Devon M. Sayers and Alta Spells, CNN

One of the four men who escaped from a Mississippi jail last weekend was apprehended in Texas on Thursday, as authorities continue their search for the two surviving escaped inmates after confirming the fourth died in a burning building.

“Escapee Jerry Raynes is in custody in Spring Valley, TX,” Hinds County Sheriff Tyree Jones tweeted alongside a picture of Raynes in custody. “(US Marshals Fugitive Task Force), Harris County Sheriff’s Office and Spring Valley PD assisted with the capture. Raynes will be held facing extradition back to MS.”

On Friday, Raynes waived extradition, his attorney John Duong told CNN. Hinds County has 14 days to get Raynes or the issue will be revisited in court, he said.

Raynes is in the Harris County Jail, according to online records.

CNN has reached out to Jones but has not heard back.

Jones announced Wednesday that Raynes was spotted Sunday at a Spring Valley Village convenience store, some 400 miles southwest of the Raymond Detention Center in Hinds County, where he and three other men — Casey Grayson, 24; Corey Harrison, 22; and Dylan Arrington, 22 — climbed onto the roof and escaped overnight Saturday, according to the sheriff’s office.

A truck investigators believe was stolen by Raynes — who previously escaped from the same detention center he escaped from over the weekend — was also recovered in Texas.

Raynes’ capture comes a day after the charred remains of Dylan Arrington, who authorities believe killed a man while on the run, were pulled from the burned wreckage of a home in Carthage, Mississippi, about 70 miles northeast of the detention center, Jones said previously, after a two-hour standoff with law enforcement.

Grayson and Harrison remain on the loose.

Prior to the escape, Raynes was being held on charges of auto theft and business burglary, the sheriff’s office said. Arrington had been charged with auto theft and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, while Grayson was being held on charges of grand larceny and sale of a controlled substance, according to the sheriff’s office. Harrison was facing a charge of receiving stolen property before the escape, officials said.

Arrington is suspected of shooting and killing a pastor in Jackson as he fled Monday and then stealing the victim’s truck and driving away, Hinds County authorities said. The victim was identified by authorities and a church associate as Rev. Anthony Watts of the St. Mary Missionary Baptist Church.

On Tuesday night, authorities in Carthage’s Leake County said they had received reports that one of the escapees, who they later identified as Arrington, had been spotted in the area.

The next morning, Leake County Sheriff Randy Atkinson and an investigator responded to the home where the escapee was suspected to be hiding, but had to take cover as the suspect began to fire at them from inside, Atkinson said. The investigator was struck in the leg and transported to a hospital.

As law enforcement from several agencies responded to the scene, the suspect continued to shoot, Atkinson said.

At some point during the two-hour standoff, the home began to smoke. “A few minutes later, the house was totally engulfed in flames,” he said.

Arrington’s body was later found in the burned home and his cause of death is under investigation, Jones said.

With the escapees still on the loose, some Raymond residents are concerned that their safety may be at risk.

“I’m scared for my family. I’ve got three grandchildren that are right here in town — every day, all day,” resident Scott Dudley told CNN affiliate WAPT. “So, yeah, that bothers me.”

Killed pastor was ‘good Samaritan’

Jones described Watts, the pastor who authorities believe was killed by Arrington along his getaway path, as a “good Samaritan” who was “stopping to help an individual that was obviously involved in criminal behavior and criminal activity.”

Investigators determined that the victim had pulled over on the side of the road Monday evening to help Arrington, who appeared to have wrecked a motorcycle that had been stolen moments earlier, according to Jackson Police Chief James E. Davis.

Based on information gathered, investigators believe Arrington shot the victim several times and then stole his truck, Davis said.

When police arrived on the scene, Watts was lying unresponsive in the roadway, authorities said.

Watts’ death was confirmed to CNN by Karen Fairley, the daughter of St. Mary Missionary Baptist Church associate pastor, Carl Burton.

“That was the type of person he was. He always wanted to help,” Fairley told WAPT. “Always wanted to know what he can do whatever the circumstance may be.”

“He always told you he loved you and his spirit was so sincere, so kind, and so loving to just everyone he came in contact with,” Fairley told the affiliate.

™ & © 2023 Cable News Network, Inc., a Warner Bros. Discovery Company. All rights reserved.

CNN’s Amy Simonson, Holly Yan, Sara Smart, Jeremy Grisham and Cara-Lynn Clarkson contributed to this report.

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