Escaped Arkansas child rapist still on the loose

Mid-South

(NewsNation) — Samuel Hartman, a convicted child rapist, is on the loose after he escaped from an Arkansas prison Friday while out on a work detail.

Law enforcement officers from local, federal and other state departments are looking for the missing 38-year-old inmate who has been on the run for the last six days.

Police now believe Hartman’s mother, Linda White and wife, Misty Hartman, may have aided in his escape.

Law enforcement officials said there may also be a third person involved.

Hartman has been in prison since 2013, serving a life sentence for the rape of a 9-year-old child. Police have notified local schools, urging them to be on high alert and take extra precautions.

His prison discipline record shows nearly two dozen violations, ranging from trafficking and manufacturing contraband, to one sexual activity violation.

Authorities say Hartman and an accomplice fired shots at a correctional officer during his escape and may have used jet skis to cross state lines into Tunica, Mississippi.

The Tunica County Sheriff’s Office believes Hartman to be in the Tunica County area.

“An aerial search via helicopters, there have been drones deployed, K-9s deployed on the ground,” said Tunica County Public Information Officer Clara Hoover.

Arkansas State Police said a farmer found the two abandoned jet skis on a boat ramp in Mississippi near Mhoon Landing Park, as well as a cellphone and a set of keys.

“There was a vehicle located two miles west of casino resort area – across the river, on the Arkansas side of the river, in Arkansas. Arkansas State Police stated that a farmer reported to have seen two abandoned jet skis on a boat ramp,” a press release from the Tunica County Sheriff’s Office said.

Deputies said the accomplice drove Hartman to the banks of the Mississippi River, then the two abandoned the vehicle and hopped on the two waiting jet skis.

The jet skis were sent to the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation for further processing.

Just hours after the escape, U.S. Marshals and deputies arrived at Tunica Cut-Off community, where Hartman’s mother and sister reportedly lived in a trailer in the community. Authorities searched the mobile home Friday, even pulling down an entire wall after getting a tip that Hartman and the two may be hiding there.

It’s not clear what evidence investigators found, but bags of women’s wigs were left behind, as well as a military uniform and camouflaged clothing.

Authorities have warned people in the area to be on alert, saying all three may be armed and dangerous. Police believe Hartman may be traveling in a white 2021 Chevrolet Z-71 trail boss truck with an Arkansas license plate, or no tags at all.

Police in Crescent, Oklahoma, have urged the public to take caution for fear that Hartman could be in the area, warning schools and parents of a child predator on the loose.

“A lot of parents didn’t send their child to school today, and a lot of people wondering why they didn’t just have a virtual day,” said Crescent resident Adrianna Hayden.

But ultimately, Hartman could be anywhere, with ties also in Wyoming — his family in Saratoga not ready to comment on his escape.

According to police, Hartman is 5 feet, 9 inches tall, about 230 pounds with descriptive tattoos of a rose, heart and sword, with words ”forever and always” and “Sam-n-Christine.”

Police are asking for the public’s help, asking if anyone has any information to please call the Arkansas State Police.

NewsNation affiliate WREG contributed to this report.

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