After 5-day-long manhunt, escaped inmate, murder suspect captured


HENNING, Tenn. (WKRN) — After a manhunt in west Tennessee, escaped inmate and murder suspect Curtis Watson was taken into custody Sunday morning.

TBI announced Sunday that they had a confirmed sighting of Watson in Lauderdale County. He was caught on a couple’s Ring surveillance camera.

Harvey and Ann Taylor said they were woken up around 3:30 a.m. Sunday morning to their surveillance system alerting them to someone on their property.

The Taylors said when they realized it was Watson on their property, they called police.

TBI Director David Rausch said hundreds of law enforcement descended upon the area in less than 30 minutes after the Taylors called.

Rausch said Watson was captured around 11 a.m. as he was coming out of a soybean field in the 600 block of Caroline Street. He was 150 feet from the home where he was spotted on camera and 10 miles from the prison he escaped from.

He was booked into the Tipton County Jail.

Watson will be charged with first-degree murder, especially aggravated burglary, aggravated sexual battery, and escape.

The Lauderdale County District Attorney said seeking the death penalty was “certainly a possibility.”

Officials said there’s no indication Watson had help. Everything he had he had taken from different locations. He never left the search area.

The days-long manhunt began Wednesday around 11:30 a.m. when 64-year-old West Tennessee Correctional Administrator Debra Johnson was found dead in her residence on the property of the West Tennessee State Penitentiary.

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(This story was originally published on August 12, 2019)

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