Prisoner recaptured after escape

Thursday, November 29, 2001

Daily Dunklin Democrat

KENNETT, Mo. -- A Dunklin County prisoner who fled from the Dunklin County Courthouse in Kennett following a court appearance Tuesday was back behind bars several hours later.

He was arrested in Campbell, Mo.

Kenneth Crowder, 27, of Gibson, Mo., had appeared before Judge Dan J. Crawford in Division II, Dunklin County Circuit Court, on a misdemeanor non-support charge. The case had been reset to next Wednesday. A short time later, Crowder bolted from the second-floor courtroom.

Sheriff Bob Holder said Crowder escaped by running from the courtroom, down two flights of stairs and fleeing through the doors on the north side of the courthouse. He then ran down North Main Street to a car that was waiting for him behind the Dunklin County Library.

Following his escape, Crowder was the subject of an intensive manhunt in Kennett, as authorities spent several hours searching buildings, yards and alleys and checking reports of sightings of the fugitive. Authorities came to the conclusion Crowder had help in his escape and had left the city.

Holder said a car belonging to Crowder's wife was identified in Clarkton, Mo., and she was stopped by a deputy sheriff.

She was brought to the county jail for questioning, and authorities learned Crowder might be in Campbell.

The sheriff, deputies and Missouri state troopers, along with Campbell police officers, went to a residence owned by the Campbell Housing Authority, in which Crowder was believed to hiding.

When officers entered the home, Crowder called to them from a bedroom and surrendered without incident.

At the time of his escape, Crowder was also being sought on a warrant for failure to appear in Division I of Dunklin County Court.

He had failed to appear in court Nov. 14 on a statutory rape charge.

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