Department of Correction officers are continuing to search the area around Princeton Pike for Timothy Buffington, who walked away from the housing unit of the Pine Bluff Complex Saturday night.
Prison spokeswoman Shea Wilson said Wednesday afternoon that correctional officers have finished their canvas and door-to-door search along Claud Road and are now concentrating on some of the side roads that lead off Princeton Pike. The goal is to ensure that the residents in that area are aware of the escape and what Buffington looks like and to ensure that none of the residents are under duress.
Buffington, 47, was serving a 20-year sentence for first-degree murder from Logan County and had been in prison since 1999. He was a trusty.
Tuesday night, officials received a report that a person that might be Buffington was seen in a pasture in Grant County, and Wilson said officers went to the area with tracking dogs and on horseback to search the area. The Arkansas National Guard also provided a helicopter for the search but no one was located.
“We didn’t detect anyone in the area,” Wilson said.
Earlier in the week, Wilson said that officials had expanded the original search area around the prison westward toward the Grant County line.
Wednesday morning, officials responded to a report of a shot in the Princeton Pike area but Wilson said they were able to determine that the shot was a random shot.
“We’re asking that residents not fire random shots while we’re looking for Bufington,” Wilson said. “When we get that kind of report, we’re going to go and check it out but it diverts our attention when we’re trying to isolate the area.”
Wednesday evening, officials responded to a possible sighting in the Grapevine area in Grant County. By 7:30 p.m., Wilson said they had determined that the sighting was of a man on a four-wheeler who looked like Buffington, but was not him.
As she has since the search began, Wilson said prison officials still believe that Buffington has not left the area around the prison, which is sparsely populated and heavily wooded.
“There has been nothing to indicate that he’s not still here,” Wilson said.
She said for the present time at least, “We’re going to keep doing what we’re doing and invest whatever time and manpower is necessary to get him back into custody.
When Buffington was last seen Saturday, he was armed with a loaded shotgun and should be considered armed and dangerous. Video surveillance footage of him from Saturday night shows him wearing a camouflage hat and shirt.
Anyone with information about Buffington should call 911.