A joint effort continues to locate escaped inmate Cul Priest Jones, a Halifax County native who fled from Hoke Correctional Institute in Raeford Sunday night.
“The North Carolina State Highway Patrol along with the Halifax County Sheriff’s Office and Roanoke Rapids Police Department is working jointly to track down leads on the whereabouts of Cul Priest Jones,” Trooper Jamie Warren said Thursday night.
Warren said law enforcement agencies trying to track down Jones believe he “is a threat to law enforcement and the community and he has been known to be violent towards law enforcement.”
Warren said Jones, 44, is also a threat to the community because of his history of breaking and entering. “We encourage citizens of the county and surrounding areas make sure their homes and vehicles are secure and make sure you are aware of your surroundings not only in the day time but particularly at night.”
Warren said this morning additional state resources have been brought in to assist with the investigation. He said the Information Sharing and Analysis Center specializes in fugitives.
“We want the community to be sure to call us, the sheriff’s office, Crimestoppers or the highway patrol to let us know where he is to return him to custody to complete his sentence,” Roanoke Rapids police Chief Chuck Hasty said today. “Any tips we get we follow up on.”
Chief Deputy Scott Hall said the sheriff’s office is following up on all leads. “We’re checking different locations when leads come in. Our staff has been made aware and we remain vigilant.”
Said Hall: “We think it’s important that Mr. Jones is located and taken back into custody.”
According to a statement from the North Carolina Department of Public Safety Jones, a minimum custody inmate, was reported missing from the Raeford facility around 7:45 p.m. Sunday.
The statement did not explain the circumstances of his disappearance there has been no update since the initial release.
Sunday’s escape makes the second time in his criminal history Jones has fled from prison custody.
The Greensboro News & Record reported in 1995 Jones, who at the time was allegedly responsible for a three-state crime spree while on the run, was taken into custody after being arrested by police in New York.
At the time the newspaper reported Jones, who was serving a 43-year sentence for wounding a Warren County Sheriff's Office detective, was caught when New York City police officers spotted his vehicle traveling through a red light. Jones gave Bronx police an alias, but he was identified by a tattoo on his right bicep.
At the time he fled from Person Correctional Center Jones was sentenced for shooting Warren County Sheriff's Office Detective Harold Seaman in 1990.
Sunday’s DPS news release says Jones is from Halifax County and that he was serving a sentence for burglary in the first degree. He was admitted to prison on September 30, 2014, and scheduled for release in January of 2023.
Sunday’s escape comes after his conviction in 2014 to a term of 7 years and 11 months for first-degree burglary, which was related to a December 2013 crime in which he was shot a by a business owner who was awakened by noise and saw Jones behind the cash register with a handgun.
At the time of that crime Jones had been released from Tillery Correctional Center on December 4, 2013, for the charges related to the shooting of the Warren County detective.
Anyone with information on Jones is encouraged to call Crimestoppers at 252-583-4444; the sheriff’s office at 252-583-8201; the highway patrol at 252-536-2224; the police department at 252-533-2810 or Hoke Correctional Institution at 910-944-7612.