Watching, waiting. State prison officials monitored a local residence last week while escaped murderer Timothy Buffington remained at large.
The Booneville Police Department served as a hub of sorts for local activity involving the search for escaped murderer Timothy Buffington.
Representatives of at least three state law enforcement agencies, including the Arkansas Department of Correction have used the BPD squad room as a meeting place to discuss the case.
“The Sheriff’s Office gave them a FEMA trailer to use, and the city isn’t charging them (at the RV park),” said BPD Chief Al Brown.
Over 15 years into a 20-year sentence for the 1998 killing of Rhonda Combs in Booneville, Buffington left a work detail assignment at the Pine Bluff correctional facility on June 21 and Buffington’s family members became an extended focal point of the search.
Officials visited two residences the night of the escape and kept tabs on residences last week. They are, however, not exactly hiding interest in Buffington’s family members.
“His family knows they are here,” said Brown. “Our officers have gone with them several times to talk to them.”
As he also said last week, Brown continues to say he has been given no indication that Buffington could be approaching the area.
“But when you look at where he was last seen, it appears he is moving in a westward direction,” said Brown.
In conjunction with his escape Buffington reportedly broke into a safe house on prison ground where he took a shotgun and ammunition and briefly held a woman hostage. The woman later escaped and called 9-1-1 to report the escape.
Buffington is listed as 5 feet, 6 inches tall and weighing 182 pounds. He has a scar on his abdomen and back upper left arm and a tattoo on his right wrist, according to the ADC.
He was also identified on a surveillance video appearing to attempt to break in a home in Pine Bluff the night of the escape and the search centered on the Princeton Pike area in Pine Bluff. Buffington was later reportedly seen in a field in Grant County, located just west of Pine Bluff and Jefferson County.
Until such a time Buffington makes his way back to his home town, Brown said the BPD will continue to monitor the situation and help field tips.
One such tip last week had a man matching Buffington’s description at the JAM Mart on the eastern edge of the city. That turned out to merely be a bald man, Brown said.
In addition to Buffington’s family members, state officials have reportedly spoken with a witness in the case.
Wayne Fletcher, who was with Combs in a pickup truck when she was shot and killed by Buffington on Carolan Bridge spoke with both newspaper and television reporters early last week and said he was fearful Buffington was coming after him.
Still others connected to the case made routine calls to the BPD calls to check on the status of the search and told officers they were in hiding.
Two jurors, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said they were not overwhelmed with worry about Buffington’s escape