Murder suspect still missing after 6 days

Published 11:09 am Monday, March 7, 2016

Rafael McCloud continued to avoid capture as police spent a fruitless weekend searching for the elusive escapee who is believed to still be in the area.

“We have searched and re-searched areas and come up empty,” Sheriff Martin Pace said Monday. “We’re going to get together and regroup and go out again.”

Pace has said authorities will continue to search for McCloud in the city until they have verified proof he has left the area.

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McCloud, 34, who is awaiting trial for capital murder and other charges in the June 28 abduction and death of Sharen Wilson, escaped from the jail about 5:30 a.m. Wednesday after using a shank, or homemade knife, to assault and overpower one of the three guards on duty at the jail.

Authorities hoped the addition Friday of a $5,000 reward from the city of Vicksburg, which boosted the overall reward for information on McCloud to $7,500, would inspire someone to report McCloud’s whereabouts, but Pace said no new leads have developed.

Since McCloud’s escape, sheriff’s deputies assisted by Vicksburg police and state and federal law enforcement agencies have concentrated their efforts in the northern part of the city, where authorities said he was known to have lived and has friends and relatives.

Search teams multiple times revisited the Kuhn Memorial Hospital property, where McCloud is accused of killing Wilson, and where officers Thursday found a pair of pants he took from the jail guard.

Teams Friday searched all three buildings on the property floor-by-floor in an effort to find him. Thursday, they used a Mississippi High Patrol infrared-equipped helicopter to scan the building and other areas without results.

McCloud, who had been in the Warren County Jail since his arrest June 29, was indicted in January on multiple counts involving Wilson’s death, and has prior felony convictions for auto burglary, grand larceny and armed robbery, according to court records.

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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