Inmate escapes, Whiteville schools locked down
Authorities locked down Whiteville City Schools after an inmate escaped from a work detail along N.C. Highway 701 in Columbus County Thursday morning.Posted — Updated
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.
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 His probation was revoked from a 2001 conviction for larceny after breaking-and-entering in Union County.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.