Local news and opinions

Escaped suspects caught!

Oct 11, 2018 at 12:30 pm by Lisa Marchesoni

Jonathan Baxter and Dewayne Halfacre

Two fugitives who escaped Rutherford County Adult Detention Center were captured within 35 hours Thursday near Smyrna, said Rutherford County Sheriff Mike Fitzhugh.

Dewayne Halfacre, 43, of Lynchburg and Jonathan Baxter, 28, of Smyrna were apprehended by teams of multi-agency law enforcement officers about 11:20 a.m. Thursday near U.S. Highway 41/70 South near the overhead bridge, Fitzhugh said.

Halfacre and Baxter will face additional charges.

“We are grateful for the law enforcement partners who joined us in searching tirelessly for the fugitives,” Fitzhugh said. “We sincerely thank our citizens who called with information. Our citizens and their tips made our job easier. We appreciate the cooperation with the Rutherford County Schools in keeping the students safe with the code yellow.”

Agencies joining the Sheriff’s Office in the search were Murfreesboro, Smyrna and La Vergne Police, Tennessee Highway Patrol and the Aviation Unit, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and the Fusion Center, the U.S. Marshal Service, the FBI, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, Rutherford County Emergency Medical Services, the communications centers who coordinated with citizens and the search and the Rutherford County Emergency Communications District.

During the search, law enforcement agencies always had a good idea of the area where the fugitives were hiding, the sheriff said. They focused around the area so they could respond instantly. 

Both Halfacre and Baxter will be charged with aggravated assault of a first responder and felony escape.

“There will be other charges as the investigation unfolds,” Fitzhugh said. “This is still a very active investigation.”

Halfacre was being held on charges of aggravated robbery, two counts of aggravated assault, unlawful possession of a weapon in a commission of a felony, possession of a prohibited weapon and vandalism.

Baxter was held for failing to appear in court on felony burglary and theft charges.

 

Earlier 12:30 p.m. Oct 10:

A female deputy assaulted by two inmates during an escape was treated for minor injuries Wednesday at St. Thomas Rutherford and released, said Sheriff Mike Fitzhugh.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation placed Halfacre and Baxter on the Tennessee Top Ten Most Wanted list. TBI is offering a reward up to $2,500, the U.S. Marshal Office is offering a $2,500 reward and Rutherford County Crime Stoppers is offering a reward up to $1,000 for a potential $6,000.

The U.S. Marshal Service, TBI, Tennessee Highway Patrol and Murfreesboro Police joined the Sheriff’s office in searching for the inmates who escaped about 12:40 Wednesday morning.

They were believed armed with a handmade weapon.

Preliminary reports were the inmates climbed over the fence to escape. They fled with the deputy’s radio.

The deputy did not carry keys or a Taser, contrary to media reports that keys and a Taser were stolen from her.

“The investigation reveals another detention officer failed to follow proper procedures after the deputy was assaulted, resulting in the inmates escaping through an outside door,” Fitzhugh said. “The investigation on the improper procedure is ongoing.”

THP’s helicopter pilot and K-9s searched for the suspects along with teams of officers.

Reports were received of a Honda Civic being stolen from a Murfreesboro car dealer. The car was later recovered. It has not been determined if the inmates took the car. 

Photo: Jonathan Baxter and Dewayne Halfacre


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