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Escaped Pearl River County inmates arrested overnight; 3 others charged with helping the fugitives

Two inmates who escaped from Pearl River County Jail early Sunday are now back in custody, said...
Two inmates who escaped from Pearl River County Jail early Sunday are now back in custody, said authorities.(Pearl River Co. Sheriff Dept.)
Published: Sep. 22, 2021 at 8:28 AM CDT
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PEARL RIVER COUNTY, Miss. (WLOX) - Two inmates are back in custody after escaping from the Pearl River County jail over the weekend. Rodney Wayne Smith and Jonathan Theo Culpepper were arrested early Wednesday morning.

According to Maj. Marc Ogden with the Pearl River County Sheriff’s Department, authorities received a tip Tuesday night that the men were hiding out in a home on Camp Road. Deputies from the sheriff’s department, along with US Marshals and Picayune Police officers descended on the house just after midnight. Smith ran from the home, but was captured after a short chase. Culpepper was found hiding inside.

Both men are charged with felony escape. Three other people - Lisa Annemarie Fornea, Joseph Head, and Mary Riley - are being charged with aiding accessory after the fact for helping the men evade authorities.

Smith and Culpepper, along with two other county inmates, escaped from the Lenoir-Rowell Criminal Justice Center in the early-morning hours of Sept. 19.

Inmates David Charles Smith and Wilmer Jose Pavon-Hercules were taken into custody not long after escaping. Culpepper and Rodney Wayne Smith, who is also known as “Hot Rod,” evaded capture for more than 48 hours before being taken back into custody.

At the time of the escape, Rodney Wayne Smith was being held in the Pearl River County Jail awaiting transfer to prison after being sentenced in June to 14 years for manufacturing methamphetamine. Culpepper is being held on charges of taking a motor vehicle and controlled substance violations. David Charles Smith is charged with arson of a residence. Pavon-Hercules is being held on multiple charges, including DUI, simple assault, resisting arrest, and several other charges.

All four inmates are also now facing an additional charge for escaping.

Smith and Culpepper have both been captured!!!!!! On 09/19/2021, in the early morning hours, four county inmates...

Posted by Pearl River County Sheriff's Department on Sunday, September 19, 2021

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