Convicted rapist on run in Tunica County after prison escape; 2 persons of interest sought

Published: Aug. 12, 2022 at 11:54 AM EDT|Updated: Aug. 12, 2022 at 3:22 PM EDT
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LEE COUNTY, Ark. (WMC) - An Arkansas inmate is on the run after escaping the East Arkansas Regional Unit in Lee County.

The inmate, Samuel Hartman, escaped from his field maintenance crew assignment Friday morning.

“We have aerial search via helicopters. There’s been drones deployed, K-9 deployed on the ground as well as manpower that is combing through the different areas that have been identified as possible locations,” said Tunica County Public Information Officer Clara Hoover. “We have a lot of different angles to try and find any lead that we may have.”

The Tunica County Sheriff’s Office says they received a call from authorities in Arkansas Friday morning saying Hartman could be in the area after police found an abandoned vehicle just a few miles west of Tunica County’s casino resort area.

Hartman may have a shaved head and no facial hair.
Hartman may have a shaved head and no facial hair.(Arkansas Department of Corrections)

The Arkansas Department of Corrections says Hartman is serving a life sentence for rape out of Franklin County and has been in custody since Dec. 2, 2013.

Authorities have reason to believe he left the jail and went to Tunica County. Hartman’s mother and a family member are people of interest that helped him escape from jail.

Police say that Misty Hartman, 38, and Linda Annette White, 60, are believed to be assisting Hartman in his escape.

Misty Hartman (left) and Linda Annette White (right) are believed to be assisting Hartman in...
Misty Hartman (left) and Linda Annette White (right) are believed to be assisting Hartman in his escape, police say.(East Arkansas Regional Unit)

Arkansas State Police say a farmer reported two abandoned jet skis on a boat ramp at Mhoon Landing Park.

Police seized the jet skis and believe Hartman and another person used them to cross the Mississippi River.

“It would’ve been 2.5 miles from where they abandoned the vehicle that was located in Arkansas that they are believed to have traveled 2.5 miles on the river to where we located the jet skis,” Hoover said.

Deputies say they found a cell phone and a set of keys near the jet skis. Both are being processed for evidence by the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation.

All Tunica County schools were on lockdown and are now dismissed.

Records show Hartman has racked up over a dozen disciplinary violations during his time behind bars -- mostly for contraband.

Hartman has tattoos portraying a rose, a heart and a sword along with the words “Forever & Always” and “Sam-N-Christine.”

The Tunica County Sheriff’s Office is asking the public to be on the lookout for a white 2021 Chevy Z71 Trail Boss (example pictured) that may be bearing the Arkansas license plate number 398-ZVY, or none at all.

White 2021 Chevy Z71 Trail Boss
White 2021 Chevy Z71 Trail Boss(Tunica County Sheriff's Office)

If you see him, call 911.

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