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Timothy Buffington: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

timothy buffington, murderer escapes in arkansas

(Arkansas Department of Correction)

A murderer is on the loose after escaping from an Arkansas prison with a loaded police shotgun.

Timothy “Bo” Buffington, 47, is the subject of a massive manhunt and has attempted to take a hostage.

Here’s what you should know about Buffington, his escape, and the danger he poses.

This is a breaking story. Stay tuned for updates.


1. He Shot His Ex-Wife in the Back of the Head

In July of 1998 Buffington blasted his 23-year-old ex-wife in the back of the head with a rifle as she sat in a pickup truck with her boyfriend.

Rhonda Combs, 23, was the mother of Buffington’s two children, and they were fighting for custody.

Buffington was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to 20 years in jail. He was due to be released in 2018.


2. There’s a Terrifying 911 Call From a Woman He Took Hostage After He Escaped

Buffington escaped on Saturday night by walking off his work detail at the Pine Bluff Unit of the Arkansas Department of Correction.

Buffington had access to a home on prison grounds as part of his work duties, and on Saturday he smashed his way into a dead-bolted safe room at the house and stole a loaded shotgun.

A woman who lives in there called 911 to report that she had been kidnapped by the escapee.

“I was kidnapped and I just got away,” the woman tells the operator in the 911 call, which you can hear above. “He is armed, and he will shoot. He has ammo, and he has a shotgun. … He has four dogs, a shotgun, ammo, and other keys — he can get more weapons.”

The woman did not leave prison grounds with Buffington. It’s unclear how she broke free.


3. He Was a ‘Trustee Inmate’ With Privileges to Roam Outside the Fence

The video above shows Buffington on surveillance video armed with a gun and wearing camouflage attempting to break into someone’s home. Skip to 20:54 to see Buffington attempt to enter the home.

Buffington was a so-called “trustee inmate,” a designation that granted him privileges to work outside the fenced-in area of the Arkansas Department of Correction’s Pine Bluff prison. He performed yard work and janitorial tasks.

He was a model inmate who had no record of bad behavior.


4. He’s Armed & Dangerous

(Google Maps)

(Google Maps)

The satellite image above shows the location of the Pine Bluff unit relative to the town of Pine Bluff, Ark.

Buffington is believed to be armed with a loaded shotgun and a backpack full of ammunition.

He’s white, bald, 5-foot-6 and 182 pounds and was last seen wearing white prison clothes.

Anyone who sees him is urged to stay out of his way and call police immediately.

KATV spoke with Buffington’s half brother, Phil Combs. In spite of the warnings from the Arkansas Department of Correction, Combs doesn’t think Buffington is trying to hurt anyone. He said:

I don’t believe he’s out to hurt anybody. I think he took the gun for, more or less, for his own protection in case they try to hurt him, because there’s something wrong.


5. There’s a Massive Manhunt Under Way, But so Far no Sign of Him

After Buffington’s escape, law enforcement authorities in Arkansas launched a manhunt, using horses and dogs and searching barns and other buildings. They responded to a one report of shots fired but found no sign of Buffington. As of Wednesday morning he has not been seen. A spokesperson for the Arkansas Department of Correction said the search will expand state-wide until Buffington is back in custody.

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13 comments

  1. Arkansas’s Prison system is a joke!!!! I would like to address the spokes person for the Prison System!!!
    Well first of all Mrs. Wilson, it is very apparent that you and the so called prison did not do its job. Also, you have never lost anyone to a ruthless killer because if you have you wouldn’t be making stupid comments to the media. Maybe there needs to be a restitution paid to the family of the victims for everyday that thee maniacs runs free, I bet you would have already caught him if this was the case, or maybe he wouldn’t have gotten out in the first place. Also, this man wasn’t even in prison for 4 years before you made him a trustee, hmm that sounds like he didn’t do much time at all for a ruthless killing!!!! Rhonda is my 1st cousin and I grew up with a beautiful loving person, who came from a great family and when this maniac did this to her it just about killed all of us. This man is an evil sociopath and doesn’t care for anyone but his selfish self. He didn’t even care enough for his children or he wouldn’t have sent them to live with his side of the family , but because they are grown now I won’t say much about how that turned out… I will let them come out and speak about that on their own. I can say this our side of the family should have gotten those kids and because of crooked judges and lawyers in that so called town of his, well they suffered. He should have gotten the death penalty because it was a premeditated murder and believe me if he would have done this down here in Texas, he would have and justice would have been served. I was six months pregnant with my first son and at 22 years old, when I heard this horrible crime I almost had a nervous breakdown. I am exactly 6 months older than Rhonda and now I am 40 and should would be this Oct., we all grew up with such a life loving person who I will never get to share another moment with….. I miss her dearly and he better pray that the police finds him before someone in her family does!!!!!

  2. Why isn’t Wayne Fletcher in jail too? Why would a boyfriend take his girlfriend out to where her ex husband Tim was at? Why didn’t he go straight to the hospital instead of the police station? To much just don’t add up on this! Guess Wayne has a reason to be scared for being a nark!!!!!!

  3. I wish he’d gotten the death penalty instead of twenty years. It was cold blooded murder, plotted, planed, and carried out. For this guy to have ever had the opportunity to be back on the streets was so wrong. I do believe authorities should watch these trustees closer, they’re in prison for a reason. I know the numbers are large, but they shouldn’t ever be in a situation where they can just walk away to escape. I feel like the search should have went state wide immediately, if possible. This is a first degree killer that made it known he would shoot and has a weapon and ammo. Seems to me this situation should be serious enough to activate a state wide man hunt very quickly after he was not immediately found in the wooded area around the prison. There’s really no telling where he could be at this point, or if he could have a hostage.

    • I totally agree with you. Why was a murderer a trustee anyway? Lets not forget what he did to get put in prison. And then the spokes woman for the prison stated that the picture may not look like him. Don’t they keep update records pr their prisoners? And to give him access outside of the walls of the prison, she even stated that he wasn’t being watched they would just check on him from time to time. Whats up with this? My friend was in DCC womens faculty and she was sick, goes where they took her for treatment? The men’s faculty. Did anyone ever think, that men could have got in to the room where she and she other women were at. Women are suppose to be kept away from the men, but when you are a woman in DCC at Pine Bluff you are taking to the mens faculty. There should be something that could be done about this. She was there is a prison with men that was in there for murder.

  4. He was susposed to be released two years ago that is when he was eligible for parole. looks like to me he did his time already and the family contested his release so they shot down his parole also looks like he took it on himself since they didn’t grant him parole he let himself out. I feel sorry for the victims family and if you thought he should have got the death penalty you should have not let the prosecutor give him such a deal. First degree murder in Arkansas carries 10 to 40 to life in order to give a man 20 years on such a crime, a prosecutor would have to get the family’s okay with it or there was more to the story than they are telling now. That is my opinion Thow

    • This whole thing is crooked from the start. Pure and simple example of a bunch of good old boys justice. Which means no justice. And if you read the facts you will see it. A lot of the good old boys are gone now, thank god. Our justice system is getting better. But it will take time. And until then more of things like this will come out. We need another law enforcement agency to investigate this. Now.

      • I heard that the “woman” that made the 911 call was the Wardens daughter and that Buffington and her were having an affair and either A: The Warden found out about it and killed the guy and this is all a cover up or… B: She made the call to throw the ADC and the police off track. I do know that PBPD posted on their Facebook page that the Buick that was seen in Mississippi was stolen on Tuesday… I still don’t see why they (PBPD and ADC and State Troopers) are not working more closely together…

      • You are so right…. The higher ranked officials at the Arkansas Dept. of Corrections are a joke, there is alot of racism and discrimination going on within ADC’s walls. Buffington was their good ol’ boy and believe me they didn’t treat him like an inmate. In my own personal opinion, I believe they knew exactly what he was going to do and probably assisted in his escape. Its not that easy to walk off the compound. And lastly, the lady’s voice heard on the 911 recording is the Wardens daughter. I wouldn’t put it past them to have helped him escape. I use to work at DGU on that same compound before it closed and went to Malvern. They know a whole lot more than they are releasing to the public. God bless the victims family tho! This just isnt right but hey its ARKANSAS

  5. VERY TRAGIC!!! I have a family member incarcerated within adc right now. Before anyone goes to judging me bout what I am about to say I need to make it clear that this ordeal is not about me or my loved one who is incarcerated; as I know this is about his victims family and how this must be hurting them so bad!!! I am just sharing our experience with you all so you can see how insane and ineffective our prison system is. I am not a scorned family member just talking trash about adc either. Everything I am saying is/has actually taken place. I want others to see how the system is and considering our hard working tax dollars fund the entire operations of adc I think it is about time we demand policies that are more effective and policies that prevent things such as this to ever happen again!!! (Or happen so easily and without much effort). We pay them to house, feed and cloth him and we also pay them to keep him there until he has done his time. We should not be ok with paying them to “not watch or monitor” such a violent individual. I wish someone; anyone, cared about the way we feel and would do as their job duties say they are to do about it (governor’s office, attorney general’s office, adc central office, the unit wardens, etc) Ok my loved one is in prison for nothing more than hitting a rough patch in life and becoming addicted to methamphetamine’s. I can PROMISE you this…..he and I both have tried and tried to ONLY GET THEM TO MOVE HIM TO ANOTHER UNIT (ONE THAT ACTUALLY OFFERS DRUG ADDICTS THE TREATMENT/CLASSES THEY NEED). We have each time been faced with the careless officials at adc and their lack of motivation to help those who actually can be helped. I believe there is hope for any drug addict that wants it bad enough. So he is not only denied these classes but he has now been placed in ad seg only because I did something they did not agree with or appreciate at all. But I can also promise you that I went to them first and gave them more than enough time to act and show they are actually doing what they make the public believe they are doing. So this INFURIATES ME that a murderer was given such a long leash and basically allowed to do as he pleased when there is a family out here suffering daily over his selfish/careless decision to take her life. So more less he only did 4 years of his time from what I understand before he was relieved of them monitoring him and watching him like a hawk. Way to go adc for punishing those who have no victims and only need classes/treatment to not be “criminals with a drug problem” that break the law. Do I think what my loved one did was right??? ABSOLUTELY NOT!!!!! But do I feel he received the proper and effective punishment for his victimless, drug “crime”????? no way!!!! Due to their carelessness and their lack of motivation to assist those who need drug treatment my loved one will now be released as that same drug addict but will be released with a whole new set of problems. I bet being a yard worker or janitor would be of great assistance to those who have no victims and have never been violent to teach them how to work and be good law abiding citizens……..BUT HEY; I UNDERSTAND, YOU ALL WOULD RATHER KEEP THESE SPOTS OPEN FOR THOSE WHO ARE VIOLENT AND THOSE WHO HAVE DESTROYED THE LIVES OF SO MANY FAMILY MEMBERS, FRIENDS AND CHILDREN OF THEIR VICTIMS…..ADC is completely aware of the consequences administrative segregation has on prisoners but not even a non-violent drug addict will change their cruel and sick minds. Adc has a philosophy and that is “abuse your (somehow given) unlimited power, punish to the fullest extent and in the most cruel and inhumane manner, knock each of those incarcerated down until they feel worthless, depressed, sad and lonely and rip anything/anyone who makes them feel loved, cared for or worthy away from them. Maybe 20 straight years of no freedom, no room to roam freely about the prison anytime you please, no visit with your family or friends, no incentives for “being good” and a nice long visit to ad seg will make those who destroy other peoples lives think twice before doing it again. Sounds to me like they are far more uneducated than I originally thought because there job is not any of the things I listed above that they are doing but rather their #1 job is suppose to be to “protect the public” from those who are a threat or danger to them………so what this means (in adc’s sick and twisted minds) is this:
    1. Send a non-violent drug addict to a unit that has absolutely zero programs/classes for drug addicts and not only that but place them in administrative segregation to punish their family for attempting to get them this help and for not allowing you to break the rules yourself.
    2. Allow a convicted murderer to roam about the prison without even being “watched or monitored” and allow those who have hurt so many people with their violence perform job duties outside of the prison fence.
    OR BETTER YET…YOU MIGHT AS WELL PROVIDE THEM WITH A WEAPON AND AMMUNITION TO GO ALONG WITH IT. Which is exactly what you did 7 days ago when you provided this murderer with the opportunity to escape from prison by not monitoring him or watching him at all. If he hurts or kills another person when you guys provided him with everything he needed to escape then I hope you can live with those thoughts for the rest of your life. Which you have already proven you have no problem dealing or coping with. I hope you all are proud of the careless manner in which your tax dollars are being utilized because until we all stand together and demand things change they will continue on for as long as they desire.
    ADC needs one huge wake up call and they need it now!!!! This should not have ever even happened. Thanks so much for letting the public down and disappointing us……you guys are so good at what you do!!!!
    ADC IS A JOKE PLAIN AND SIMPLE!!!!!
    Spend a little time working on policies that will prevent things such as this and stop knocking those who have never done a single thing to harm anyone down!! You think you are so powerful because your able to have a nonviolent drug addict under your thumb by your ridiculous disciplinaries and rude and careless staff members but go ahead make friends with those violent offenders and when you do this is what you will get every single time. Truthfully it does not matter if he has had one disciplinary or 90 HE KILLED A YOUNG WOMAN THAT WAS JUST GETTING STARTED WITH HER LIFE FOR GOODNESS SAKE!!!! Do you think his adc discilinary record has made her family any less sad or made them miss her less?? ABSOLUTELY NOT!! I will speak for adc because I KNOW they will never apologize to you all……TO HER FAMILY:I am terribly sorry that this has happened to you all and you all are having to go through this all over again!! This should have never happened to you all!! WE SHOULD HAVE NEVER ALLOWED A MURDERER TO ROAM THE PRISON FREELY AND WE SHOULD HAVE KEPT A CLOSE EYE ON HIM!! Looks like adc has made themselves look ignorant again!!!!

    • No. The joke is on society. Society is ignorant of what causes a prison to function as they do. Our county jails are overflowing and now when a judge issues a prison sentence, the judge looks over at the county sheriff and asks, “Who do you want to let go?” They do that because there is NO room in the jail. Then a person who should not be let go is again loose on society to drive a car, drink a case of beer and kill another person while driving drunk. Mostly, alcohol and drugs drives the crime problems in society. I do not know why that is because everyone knows that when one drinks it makes one a more competent driver. Why I can even drive a boat better drunk. Everyone knows that.

    • I totally agree with you! I have a son in for the same thing and a dear friend should be released period and was to have his fer-low to come home on the 11th, this Buffington is long gone and ADC is looking in the wrong places. Hes on a mission and more than likely will never be found or alive anyway…THIS SHOULD NOT effect inmates, 309s to come home to see their families. Appears to me ADC is making their own rules, who in their right mind would make a Murder (Listed as 1st Degree) instead of Capital a trustee? There is more to this story than being told on the inside and I am contacting ADC about inmates fer-lows, its wrong!

  6. This is a prime example that society is wrong when it says that my wrongdoing does not affect anyone else. Reportedly ex-wife, [I suppose it was ex-wife and not still married to him] met with her boyfriend while they are in custody battle. Not a good time to be dating if one takes into consideration the innocent children. Anger arises in these situations and people snap. I don’t know why a man or woman cannot concentrate on raising their children rather than bring another man or woman into the volatile mix. We human beings are not too good when it comes to thinking of what results will come out of our actions. I try to remember that nothing that is wrong will ever come out right. What is disturbing is this is not an isolated incident where things went badly wrong. Then I hear that the ex’s boyfriend raped his daughter. If that is true, one can see the building anger. Based on what I have observed in our family and society as a whole rarely does divorce resolve anything. I use to believe that it did but no more; especially when children are involved. Divorce puts more women into poverty than anything in our society. They are the ones in most cases who suffer the most after divorce. Man’s wisdom in our day and age has gone awry. The only thing that can save us is another Great Awakening. I am personally working on myself right now. Seven days of prayer ending with fasting commences tomorrow. Join in with millions around the world who will be praying for this. Surely no one can deny that we are in desperate times. When one thinks that they have heard the worse crime then the next day tops it. These things just keeps on rolling into our society and around the world. We are being eaten alive by destructive forces in our nation. Get on board. Make a difference in your world. Our wrongdoing does in fact roll throughout the entire society just like throwing a pebble in the water and watching its waves go farther and farther away. It does matter what we individually do in our own lives.

  7. People are rightfully asking for change in the system but there is one MAJOR detail that you may not be aware of. Many people have the mistaken idea that taxpayers rule. Federal and other lower judges RULE when it comes to what a prison can do with those who are incarcerated. In our nation, our judicial system is in shambles and I see no way that this is going to turn around considering that judges rule who do not have wisdom and societies best interests at heart or they just flat live in LALA LAND. Part of this dysfunction comes from the fact that prisons are MANDATED to rehabilitate ALL prisoners. To do that outside of changing a prisoner’s heart and the hearts of those in charge, rehabilitation is NOT going to occur. IT WILL NOT AND CANNOT OCCUR. Prisons do not have the knowledge, or they are not permitted to use it, to rehabilitate anyone. And not all can necessarily be rehabilitated but try we must.

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