ALEXANDER CITY, ALABAMA — A man who escaped for the second time in less than a month from the Coosa County (Ala.) Jail kept law enforcement officials in multiple jurisdictions on the run and residents on edge. It is now known that he has crossed state lines and is believed to be in Georgia.
Shane Anthony Vernon, 27, was able to flee the Coosa County Jail in Rockford, Alabama through an unsecured door Sunday afternoon at about 2:30 CST. From there he has stolen, robbed and ran across three counties before apparently making his way to Georgia.
Monday evening at about 5:30 p.m. CST, Vernon, kidnapped William Richard McCord, 62, from his house on Bradley Road near Wetumpka, Alabama. Also taken was the victim’s vehicle, a black Grand Prix GT-2. Officials searched the area all night looking for signs of the vehicle, the victim and Vernon.
At about 6:55 a.m. Tuesday, Vernon dropped McCord off unharmed in Douglasville. McCord made it to a police station to get help. McCord was not physically harmed, officials said. The victim’s Grand Prix was found abandoned near a Fairburn Road convenience store and there is no sign of Vernon.
“They have not been able to locate Vernon there in Douglasville at this time,” Coosa County Sheriff Terry Wilson said. “But if there is a silver lining, he did release the kidnap victim and he appears to be OK.
“Right now we are just working to see if we can find any ties that he may have to that area and working with authorities there to possibly track him down.”
Douglasville Police Department Lt. Mark Edwards confirmed that McCord was dropped off on Fairburn Road and made his way to the police department headquarters. At that time, the U.S. Marshals were called in, Edwards said.
Alex Camacho of the U.S. Marshal’s Service Southeast Regional Fugitive Task Force said Tuesday afternoon agents were verifying that the individual responsible for transporting McCord was indeed Vernon, and then seeing what evidence and connections that he may have to the area.
“We really don’t know a lot at this point,” Camacho said. “The man did make his way to the Douglasville Police Department and physically it’s my understanding that he is OK. We have people talking to him to see what information we can ascertain that could help us help out sister agency in Alabama locate this man.”
Camacho said Vernon is “armed and dangerous” and that anyone who sees him should call 911.
Here is a timeline of the path of terror that Vernon has been on since Sunday afternoon (all times Central):
2:30 p.m.: Shane Anthony Vernon is able to escape from the Coosa County jail for the second time in three weeks, through a door that had not been secured.
4:30 p.m.: Vernon invaded a home on Highway 231, terrorizing and tying up residents and stealing clothes and a 2016 Ford Fusion.
8:30 p.m.: Ford Fusion found abandoned near Living Waters Baptist Church on Elmore County Road 80 near the Coosa-Elmore county line.
10:30 a.m.: Vernon, with a handgun, invades home on Grass Farm Road near Titus, Alabama, ties up a woman and her husband and locks the woman and a child in a closet. At the home he steals a 2005 silver Chrysler Pacifica with a firefighter tag. He also takes cash, clothing and possibly another weapon.
5:30 p.m.: Vernon, 27, kidnaps William Richard McCord, 62, from his house on Bradley Road Monday around 5:30 p.m. Also taken was the victim’s vehicle, a black Grand Prix GT-2. Officials search the area all night looking for signs of the vehicle, the victim and Vernon.
6:55 a.m.: Vernon drops McCord off unharmed in Douglasville. McCord makes it to a police station to get help. The victim’s Grand Prix is found abandoned and there is no sign of Vernon.
Multiple agencies including Coosa County Sheriff’s Office, Elmore County Sheriff’s Office, Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, the State K-9 Tracking Team, the ALEA Aviation Unit and the United States Marshall’s Office were involved in the search. Now the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, The Douglasville Police Department, the Georgia State Patrol and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation are involved in the search.
According to Wilson, the United States Marshals Service is coordinating what he called a nationwide search. Felony warrants for unlawful imprisonment, kidnapping, armed robbery, theft of a motor vehicle and escape have been issued for Vernon.
An internal investigation is being conducted regarding the actions of the correctional officer, Wilson said in a released statement.
“He has scared a lot of people to death all around our area,” Wilson said. “He hasn’t physically harmed anyone yet, but we fear that as he becomes more desperate that his behavior will escalate. We know he has ties to our area and to Alexander City, so we are doing everything possible to find him before someone gets hurt.”