Three inmates described as “dangerous” fled a rural Alabama jail early Saturday, setting off a massive manhunt involving tracking dogs and more than 100 law enforcement officers, including U.S. marshals and members of the Alabama Bureau of Investigation. Officials said two of the escaped prisoners were accused murder while the third faced charges of armed robbery. The three men -- Gemayel Culbert, 32, Demarcus Woodard, 23, and Justin Gordon, 23 -- were on foot and may have been picked up by a vehicle along a nearby state highway, USA Today reported.
"We cannot release any information except that we're looking for them. They're dangerous individuals," Choctaw County Sheriff Tom Abate told USA Today. "We're telling people if they see them, contact your local law enforcement agency." A search team traced the inmates’ trail down State Highway 17 for a quarter-mile, but to no avail. Police suspect the men were either picked up or had a vehicle waiting for them.
Culbert was allegedly involved in the killing of two people at a club in northern Choctaw County, about 130 miles east of Montgomery. Woodard faced murder charges for allegedly shooting and killing a work release inmate, and Gordon was suspected of being involved in a convenience store robbery.
The inmates had been locked in the same cell around 2 a.m. CST, CNN reported. The three reportedly escaped after jumping a guard who had opened the cell door. The jailer had responded to one of the men who had been screaming his cellmate had gotten sick. The guard looked through a peephole and saw one of the inmates vomiting.
When the jailer opened the door, the other two inmates attacked him, wrapping a towel around his face and squirting it with Lysol until he was unconscious, ABC News reported. The inmates made off with the guard’s keys and cell phone. The guard was later hospitalized, but has since been released.