Local News

Inmate escapes, Whiteville schools locked down

Posted October 16, 2008

— Authorities locked down Whiteville City Schools after an inmate escaped from a work detail along N.C. Highway 701 in Columbus County Thursday morning.

Archie Funderburk, 39, ran away from the work detail around 10 a.m., state Department of Correction officials said. Officers fired at Funderburk several times but did not know if they had hit him.

Law enforcement agencies have launched a large-scale manhunt focused on the Whiteville area. New Hanover County sheriff's deputies flew a helicopter for an aerial search.

Whiteville City school officials canceled an early release for noon and placed the system's schools under lock down, keeping students at school through the late afternoon.

Police officers sat aboard school buses that ran north of N.C. Highway 74-76 and escorted other buses. Parents had to present identification to pick up their children and authorize children who drive themselves to school to leave.

"Police monitored our campuses during the day to keep your children safe," read a release on WCS' Web site.

Funderburk was considered a medium-level security risk and assigned to Columbus Correctional Institution in Whiteville.

He was due to be released in February 2009 after serving a 10 month- to one-year sentence for violating his probation. His probation was revoked from a 2001 conviction for larceny after breaking-and-entering in Union County.

Funderburk escaped from prison once before in 1991 while serving a sentence for robbery with a dangerous weapon, according to DOC records.

Anyone with information on Funderburk’s whereabouts was asked to contact local law enforcement or Columbus Correctional Institution at 910-642-3285.


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  • US VET Oct 16, 2008

    He was just headed for the polls..

  • f6rider Oct 16, 2008

    Rev. B, your negative comment about Durham was not very christian like. You claiming to be a Rev so people are watching your comments.

  • scarletindurham Oct 16, 2008

    that is a little extreme, it's probably more likely that a school bus will plow into the auditorium than the inmate trying to go to the school, my goodness, he's there for b & e and robbery, not child molestation.

  • Adelinthe Oct 16, 2008

    Snakebite Survivor - "Boy, if I were an escaped convict, the first place I would head is to a school..."

    Might if he's looking for hostages that won't fight him.

    God bless.

    Rev. RB

  • Adelinthe Oct 16, 2008

    Tax Man - "If this guy escaped before why is he on a work crew and not locked behind bars?"

    Good question! Sounds like the Durham Probation Department.

    God bless.

    Rev. RB

  • Adelinthe Oct 16, 2008


    Praying for everyone there, especially the children.

    God bless.

    Rev. RB

  • Snakebite Survivor Oct 16, 2008

    Boy, if I were an escaped convict, the first place I would head is to a school...

  • Reason Oct 16, 2008

    A "medium-level" security risk (not low-level) and a previous escapee was placed on a work detail???? Coming from a law enforcement officer, that probably was not the smartest thing for DOC to do. I understand the need for work details, but come on.

  • Scarecrow Cow Oct 16, 2008

    February 2009 is not far away. He should have waited.

  • Just the facts mam Oct 16, 2008

    If he escaped once - I don't think it is surprising he tried again...