Prison officials scale back search for escaped prisoner because of holiday

Arkansas Department of Corrections officials have given most of their personnel some time off this holiday weekend as they have scaled back their search for escaped prisoner Timothy Buffington.

Prison spokeswoman Shea Wilson said in an email to The Commercial Friday afternoon that the department is continuing to operate its command center and has people available to respond to calls as needed.

Buffington, 47, who escaped June 21, was a trusty when he walked away from an employee housing unit on prison grounds but not before breaking into a secure storage room at the house and taking a loaded shotgun and camouflage clothing. He was seen wearing those clothes on security video when he tried to break into a house on Princeton Pike the same night.

There have been no confirmed sightings since then, despite checkpoints being set up in the area around the prison and officers on horseback, ATV’s and with dog teams combing the heavily wooded and sparsely populated area.

On Friday corrections officials released a time progression photo of how Buffington might look now with a beard and hair growth since the escape.

He was serving a 20-year sentence for first-degree murder in the shooting death of his former wife in 1998 and had been been in prison since 1999.

Buffington is a white male, 5 feet 6 inches tall, weighing 182 pounds, has a scar on his abdomen and back upper left arm and a tattoo on his right wrist, according to the ADC website. He should be considered armed and dangerous.

Anyone with information about Buffington should call 911.