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Escapees still at large

By By Sheila Blackmon/The Meridian Star
June 27, 2001
Newton County authorities believe Mark McElhenny, a 35-year-old man who escaped custody last month, may have fled to south Alabama.
McElhenny was arrested at a house in Morton on a child exploitation charge May 29 after allegedly exposing himself and making inappropriate comments to minors at a Decatur trailer park, Newton County Sheriff Jackie Knight said.
McElhenny escaped the next day from the sheriff's department booking area while Municipal Judge Danny Clearman was setting his bond.
Knight said Itawamba County officials are also "keeping close tabs" on McElhenny, where there are warrants for his arrest on other sexual charges.
Authorities sent warrants for his arrest to officials in Pontotoc because McElhenny's family lives there, said Newton County Chief Deputy Bill Truhitt.
Meanwhile, a spokesman at the Kemper County Sheriff's Department said Woodie Moody remains at large.
Moody, 40, escaped May 17 from the Kemper-Neshoba Regional Correctional Facility in DeKalb.
Prison officials said Moody, who was discovered missing from a work detail, apparently scaled a security fence to escape.
He allegedly stole a horse and was seen riding it through Newton County shortly after his escape. Residents along Highway 492 and witnesses at Peacock's store in Union identified him from a photo line-up.
Truhitt said the horse was discovered at the Newton County line near Sebastopol.
Bill Jarvis, warden at the Kemper-Neshoba Regional Correctional Facility, said Moody was incarcerated for a non-violent offense and is not considered dangerous.
Anyone with any information as to McElhenny's whereabouts should call the Newton County Sheriff's Department at 635-2101. Anyone with any information as to Moody's whereabouts should call Kemper-Neshoba prison officials at 743-5767 or the Kemper County Sheriff's Department at 743-2255.
Sheila Blackmon is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. Call her at 693-1551, ext. 3275, or e-mail her at sblackmon@themeridianstar.com.

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