ABERDEEN, N.C. — William Barefoot escaped from the Hoke County Jail on Monday. He was in prison for attempting to kill a Scotland County sheriff's deputy in 2001. Deputies do not think he went too far, possibly into Moore County, but after days of searching for him, they decided to cut back on manpower.
"We haven't had any reports of stolen vehicles. We haven't had any reports of any break-ins. We really don't have anything to relate to him at this point that we can be looking for other than just him," said Neil Godfrey, of the Moore County Sheriff's Office.
Gov. Mike Easley has authorized up to a $5,000 reward for information that results in the capture and conviction of Barefoot. People who live in the area like Aileen Perdue remain nervous about the escaped convict.
"You don't sleep very well when something like that is going on," she said.
Many residents are more careful about locking their doors, keeping lights on and questioning anyone paying them a visit.
"I make sure I ask who it is before I let them in. If I don't recognize their voice at the door, they won't come in," resident Linda McLaughlin said.
Right from the start, investigators described Barefoot as smart and slippery. They knew he could survive on the run. But now as officers called in for the search return to their usual beats, police and deputies who normally work the area are beefing up their own patrols.
Barefoot is 5 feet 11 inches tall and weighs 202 pounds. He has brown hair and brown eyes and a tattoo on his left hand between his thumb and index finger. Barefoot may be armed and should be considered dangerous.
Barefoot is just one of 192 prison escapees in the North Carolina. Seventeen escapees are killers or were awaiting trial on murder charges. Of all the escapees, the Department of Correction said Richard Scott has been on the run the longest if he is still alive. Scott, who would be 80 years old now, escaped in 1947. He was in prison for bigamy.