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Search Continues For Prison Escapee

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NORTHAMPTON COUNTY — There is still no sign of Gustavo Giraldo who escaped from theOdom Correctional Institutionin Northampton County on Monday. Prison leaders think he drowned while trying to run. People who live in the area are not so sure.

With the Roanoke River on one side of the prison and a lot of ground to cover on the other, Gustavo Giraldo will have to beat the odds if he is still alive. Besides the 90-degree heat, Giraldo is battling bugs, snakes and poison ivy in his quest for freedom.

Prison officials are focusing their search on 11 miles of the Roanoke River, south of Jackson, N.C. after finding prison shoe tracks that go into the water but do not come out. Some believe he may already be dead.

"We are focusing on the stretch of the river below where the tracks let in," says Tracy Little of theDepartment of Correction. "We have boats that are going along both sides of the banks trying to determine if we can pick something up."

Not everyone is convinced that the Cuban native still in the area.

"It's not that rough of an area. It's large woods and a large area but it is not that rough of a terrain," says resident Barry Bryant.

Some searchers got a little more than they bargained for. A Highway Patrol search helicopter was forced to land after it hit a power line. The two occupants in the helicopter were not injured.

Three inmates tried to escape from the same prison last year. One was shot and killed while the other two were caught.

There are currently 247 inmates classified as escapees from North Carolina prisons. 19 of those were in jail for murder. The longest unsolved escape is Richard Scott who walked away from a Wake County jail in 1947.

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Brian Bowman, Reporter
Richard Adkins, Photographer
Kamal Wallace, Web Editor

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