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Escapee Manages To Elude Massive Manhunt

Law enforcement officers from multiple departments searched Panola County last week for Ewel William Scott, an escapee from the Yalobusha County Detention Center. Scott escaped on April 1 and has been on the run since then. Officers staged at a church parking lot in Panola County (above) during the search.

PANOLA COUNTY – For two weeks an escapee from the Yalobusha County Detention Center has managed to stay a step ahead of law enforcement officers in three counties, evading tracking  canines and even swimming the Yalobusha River multiple times when the trail got hot.

Ewel William Scott, age 39, was being held for felony taking of a motor vehicle. Scott has been arrested multiple times for theft and larceny but has never been charged with a violent crime. 

             Ewel William Scott

Scott escaped around 9 p.m. and allegedly stole a 1995 pickup on County Road 436 not far from the jail. Two days later the pickup was located in a barn in Tallahatchie County about a half-mile from the railroad tracks in Enid. 

Yalobusha County Sheriff Mark D. Fulco reported that Scott has managed to stay a step ahead of authorities since then as the manhunt started in Tallahatchie County and shifted to Panola County after multiple sightings were reported near the Pope/Courtland area.

Last Tuesday, April 7, Panola County Sheriff Shane Phelps reported his deputies picked up the trail with a canine. Phelps told The Panolian that he and deputies walked through creeks and thickets until the dog was exhausted. Early Wednesday morning, Phelps speculated that they were fairly close to Scott because they found snack wrapper and a Sprite can that had not been open very long.

“He had broken into a deer camp and got some groceries and kept on moving,” Phelps told The Panolian. He also said Scott has connections to Panola, Tallahatchie and Yalobusha counties. 

On Wednesday multiple departments assisted the Panola County Sheriff’s Department with the search effort in southeast Panola County including the Tallahatchie, Desoto and Yalobusha sheriff departments, the Batesville Police Department, the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks and the Mississippi Department of Corrections.

By Wednesday evening, the trail had gone cold and last Thursday officers continued to question residents in the area looking for tips. Around 9:15 p.m. Thursday night, Phelps told The Panolian they got word a homeowner saw someone trying to steal his ATV from a residence along Pope-Crowder Road. Deputies and state agents quickly mobilized again and brought the rested tracking dogs back to the scene.

According to the Panolian, deputies from DeSoto County arrived with high-tech drones fitted with night vision cameras and heat-seeking radar concentrating their search in an area surrounding the bridge that crosses the Yocona River on Pope-Crowder Road. Several times that night dogs picked up Scott’s trail and deputies walking the fields and river banks found a few fresh foot prints, but the fugitive was able to cross the river and stay ahead of the pursuers, according to The Panolian.

As the night turned cooler and with several confirmed crossing of the river, deputies were hopeful their constant pursuit of a tired, wet runner would result in his surrender or slow him enough for lawmen to overtake. Phone calls from homeowners reporting their own dogs barking prompted deputies to rush several houses and farm shops, hoping to catch Scott in a barn or outbuilding.

Dozens of buildings, pieces of old farm equipment, junk vehicles and similar hiding places were searched with no luck, At 4 a.m. Friday, Phelps announced he was suspending the search for the night when the drones and tracking dogs yielded no more leads.

Phelps told The Panolian it was frustrating to suspend the search because deputies were certain their prey was within a few miles, and suspected he had been watching the search from wood lines part of the evening.

“We did everything we possibly could with the tools we have and the manpower, but unfortunately this guy just doesn’t want to be brought in and he’s putting up a fight,” Phelps said. He also said that Scott is not considered to be dangerous, but added that he will steal anything that “is not nailed down.”

Anyone with information about Scott, or his whereabouts, should contact their local sheriff’s office. The telephone numbers to call are: 662-563-6230 (Panola), 662-473-2722 (Yalobusha) and 662-647-3700 (Tallahatchie).

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