LEE COUNTY, AK – A convicted rapist serving life in prison made his escape from prison in August of this year. Despite the best efforts of law enforcement to this point, the convict is still on the run.
Convicted rapist Samuel Hartman was supposed to be living out the rest of his days in prison, where he has been since 2013.
Hartman, who was convicted and sentenced for the rape of a 9-year-old, was somehow able to escape from the Arkansas Prison he has called home for almost ten years.
— Rose (@901Lulu) August 12, 2022
Authorities reported Hartman was able to escape while working on a prison detail out of the East Arkansas Regional Unit at Brickeys.
At some point after making his getaway, Hartman was able to jump into a vehicle with his mother, Linda Annette White, and his wife, Misty Hartman, before fleeing the area.
During Hartman’s daring escape, correctional officers seemed to be closing in on Hartman and the two helping him before shots rang out.
Investigators working to get Hartman back into custody were able to locate a Chevy Tahoe that they believe was used by him and his two accomplices but was empty when it was located.
Police reported finding a pair of jet skis on the bank of the Mississippi River and believe that the trio may have used those to cross the river and enter Tunica County, Mississippi.
Tunica County Sheriff’s Office was issued a bolo for the escaped convict and began searching the area. A spokeswoman, Clara Hoover, warned residents:
“Be on high alert, keep your vehicles, your homes, keep everything locked at all times…If you were traveling directly across from where we are in Tunica County to where the vehicle was abandoned in Arkansas, the jet skis would have traveled 2.5 miles south of here.”
Samuel Hartman has been on the run for six days now after breaking out of his Arkansas prison. He’s serving a life sentence for raping a 9-year-old child.
Authorities have reason to believe he could be headed to Tulsa, OK, or Wyoming—both places he has ties. pic.twitter.com/sNVOUyVh9u
— Markie Martin (@MarkieMartin) August 18, 2022
Investigators searching the area learned of a trailer that is believed to have belonged to Hartman which was on Carp Drive.
Investigators obtained a search warrant for the trailer but it was found not to be occupied when authorities executed the warrant.
Authorities reported they obtained evidence inside of the trailer which confirmed that Hartman and his accomplices were in the trailer at some point. They reported finding wigs and a military uniform inside with no other traces of Hartman.
As police continue to search for Hartman’s location, Fox News Digital spoke with Tonya Hartman, the convict’s ex-wife. She reported the plan to get him out of prison has been one that was in the planning stages for a long time. Tonya said:
“I honestly think they’ve had this planned for a long time. I have no idea where they would have gone. All of this is just completely crazy to me, and I can’t believe they even did something like this.”
Hey @KATVBarry @KATVNews ? Any updates on Samuel Hartman, who escaped AR prison August 12 with help of mom, sister (or wife?) Strange how little attention it got, It’s almost like he has inside help. How would he be on work release AND how would family know to be ready? #Arkansas pic.twitter.com/LgQiNeoS0m
— Mark (@3sonsBlessed) September 13, 2022
Fox News obtained court records that show Hartman and his mother appeared to have a close relationship and spoke about his arrest at some point during the legal process.
During the phone call, Hartman can be heard telling White that he had only accidentally touched the 9-year-old victim in the case and that the touch was “innocent.”
White was then heard telling Hartman:
“I’d just keep denying everything to the end. That’s what I would do, regardless.”
Alert citizens flag down police, stop a kidnapping in progress and save the life of an innocent toddler
SIOUX FALLS, SD – Believing that something was not quite right, a handful of people flagged down officers patrolling the area. Those individuals told police about a suspicious man carrying a toddler.
Providing a description of the man, they pointed police in his direction. Sioux Falls police made contact with Michael Flann Neal, Jr., 36, who was walking with a 1-year-old.
Neal’s original story was that he was being shot at and was concerned for his safety. He said that he didn’t know who was shooting at him. There were no reports of shots being fired in the area to confirm his story.
According to KELO, police say his story wasn’t adding up and he appeared to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
When pressed on the toddler with him, he told authorities that he was the child’s uncle. As the conversation continued, Neal was unable to provide police with the parents’ names. As police detained the man and continued their questioning, two things came to light.
One, it was determined that the 36-year-old had an outstanding warrant. It is unknown what that warrant was for, but he was taken into custody for that warrant. While that was playing out, a call came into the SFPD regarding the child that was with Neal.
To no one’s surprise, Neal was in no way related to the toddler. While the child’s parents knew of Neal, there was no reason for him to have been with the toddler.
Here is what we know.
Earlier that day, while both parents were working, Neal went to their home where the 1-year-old was being watched by a nanny. He managed to force his way into the home. Police have not provided any details about how he was able to gain entry into the apartment.
The child’s caregiver attempted to stop Neal, but he simply pushed her aside, grabbing the toddler and rushing out.
While the investigation continues, officials have not yet been able to determine what the Neal’s plan was for the kidnapping. Could it have been for ransom or trafficking? Police are still trying to piece that all together.
Neal is now locked up on his previous warrant, as well as having been charged with 2nd-degree kidnapping and drug charges for possessing a small amount of meth.