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
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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