MDOC escaped convicts captured

Update (Wednesday, July 10): The two inmates who escaped the Central Mississippi Correctional Facility in Rankin County are now in custody.

Christopher Benson High, 28, was arrested this morning after Jonathan Blankenship, 31, was first apprehended. Both were captured in Meridian without incident. More details to follow.

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

High received 12 years for burglary larceny of an unoccupied dwelling in Carroll County.

The manner in which the men escaped is under investigation. Because of the active investigation and search, the agency is not discussing how the escape occurred.

 

Update (Sunday, July 7): Escaped Parchman Inmate Benny Ray Blansett is now in custody.

Blansett, 59, was captured without incident by officers with the Mississippi Department of Corrections just before 11 p.m. Saturday at a checkpoint on Lombardi Road in Sunflower County.

Blansett has been returned to the Mississippi State Penitentiary and will face an escape charge. He had been on the run since escaping Unit 30 on Friday.

The other two escapees are still at large.

 

Update: Movement is now restricted statewide in the prison system as the Mississippi Department of Corrections continues to hunt for escaped inmates Benny Ray Blansett, Jonathan Blankenship, and Christopher Benson High.

The statewide lockdown means visitation and other privileges are suspended until further notice not only at the state prisons but also at the private prisons, regional facilities, and community work centers.

 

Original story:

Three Mississippi inmates escaped this morning from two different correctional centers.

Two men escaped from the Central Mississippi Correctional Facility in Pearl Friday morning, one of whom was convicted in Carroll County.

Christopher Benson High, 28, was convicted of burglary larceny of an occupied dwelling in Carroll County in 2016.  He is serving a 12 year sentence.

High is 5 feet 7 inches tall at 145 pounds with hazel eyes and brown hair. He also has tattoos, including on his chest and arms.

Jonathan Blankenship, 31, was convicted of aggravated assault on a police officer and conspiracy to commit a crime in Alcorn County.  He is serving a total of five years. 

Blankenship stands 5 feet 10 inches tall at 200 pounds with blond hair and blue eyes. He uses the alias Hustle. He has tattoos on his face and neck.

According to a release by the Mississippi Department of Corrections, the two were discovered missing at 7 a.m. Friday morning as the search for an escaped inmate from the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman was underway.

Benny Ray Blansett, 59, was discovered missing from Unit 30 at the Mississippi State Penitentiary at 3:17 a.m. this morning during a count. He was last seen wearing a white shirt, with the words “MDOC Convict” on back, and black and white striped pants.

He is serving life for two uttering forgery convictions, two jail escapes, aggravated assault on a police officer, and burglary.  All, except one conviction, occurred in Marion County. He was also convicted of jail escape in Sunflower County.

Blansett is a white male standing 5 feet 11 inches tall and weighing 169 pounds. He has brown hair and brown eyes.

According to the Mississippi Department of Corrections, visitation and other privileges at the all three state prisons are suspended as the Mississippi Department of Corrections continues to search for three escapees and to investigate their escapes.

The Mississippi State Penitentiary (MSP) at Parchman, Central Mississippi Correctional Facility (CMCF) in Pearl, and the South Mississippi Correctional Institution (SMCI) in Leakesville – the three state-operated facilities -- are on lockdown until further notice.

If you see the men or know of their whereabouts, call the MDOC at 662-745-6611 or Crime Stoppers at 601-355-TIPS (8477). Anyone with information that leads to an arrest could be eligible for a reward.

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