Escapee caught in Cleburne County


An escapee from the Arkansas Department of Correction’s Tucker unit was captured Thursday morning in Central Arkansas.

Department of Correction’s spokeswoman Shea Wilson said Curtis Dewain Reese Jr., 33, was captured two miles into Cleburne County, near the Pangburn community in White County.

Reese had been serving a 40-year sentence for first-degree murder when he escaped Monday.

Wilson said department personnel received information Wednesday night indicating a possible location for Reese, and about 50 law enforcement and correctional officers deployed to the area where they found Reese in a crevice or nook on the side of a cliff or hill, approximately 70 feet off the ground.

“He had managed to nestle himself into that spot,” she said. “He was 85 to 90 miles from where he escaped from Tucker, so obviously he couldn’t have walked that far between Monday and Thursday morning. We believe he had assistance at some point but we don’t exactly know what point. That’s something we’re obviously looking into.”

Arkansas State troopers and members of the U.S. Marshal’s Service participated in the arrest of Reese, who has been sent to the Varner Supermax Unit while the investigation into his escape continues by the state police.

“Once that investigation is completed, it will be sent to the prosecutor to determine what charges will be filed against Reese but it’s likely to be at least second-degree escape.”

Reese and another inmate, James B. Ryan, escaped from the Maximum Security Unit at Tucker Monday on a water tank atop an 18-wheeler tractor trailer and jumped off in the Ferda area.

Ryan was taken back into custody a short time later after injuring himself while jumping off the truck.

“We’re thrilled to have Reese back in custody and I can’t say enough about all the law enforcement agencies that helped up, and about the public who stayed engaged and provided us with tips about his whereabouts,” Wilson said.