Escaped inmates caught in Meridian

MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) - Two inmates who escaped the Central Mississippi Correctional facility have been apprehended in Meridian.

(Photo Source: WTOK-TV0

Lauderdale County Sheriff Billy Sollie confirmed to Newscenter 11 that 31-year-old Jonathan Blankenship and 28-year-old Christopher Benson High were caught Wednesday morning at two separate locations.

One inmate was caught at 17th Avenue and 11th Street. The other was caught off 18th Avenue near Sowashee Creek.

Blankenship was serving five years for aggravated assault on a police officer and conspiracy to commit a crime in Alcorn County.

High was serving 2 years for burglary larceny of an unoccupied dwelling in Carroll County.

Lauderdale County Sheriff Billy Sollie described the arrests made by the Meridian Police Department happened around 10:00 a.m.

Sheriff Sollie explains that someone spotted Jonathan Blankenship and reported it to a Rush Hospital security guard. That guard called police and were able to apprehend Blankenship. Shortly after, Sollie says they got a tip the other inmate was near LOVE's Kitchen on 18th Avenue. That tip proving to be fruitful. Christopher High was found by the train tracks behind LOVE's Kitchen.

“The individuals they were in accomplice with are being interviewed by the Mississippi Department of Corrections and U.S. Marshals. They will make the determination as to whether to pursue charges against those individuals,” Sollie says.

Sollie says it’s possible the homeless were helping the two.
“We have a large number of homeless individuals here in the area. They make friendships with individuals that provide them with shelter, clothing and showers. We believe that’s what happened,” Sollie says.

Two other people, a man and a woman, were also taken into custody during the search, but Lauderdale County officials say they aren't sure if they are connected to the escaped inmates.

The Mississippi Department of Corrections says the manner in which the two were able to escape is still under investigation. Because of the active investigation and search, the agency is not discussing how the escape occurred.