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Escaped Murder Suspect Captured In Wilson County

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WILSON COUNTY, N.C. — A murder suspect who escaped from a jail transport van was captured Tuesday evening by Wilson County authorities after an extensive search.

Eddie Lee Ellis, 23 was found at about 9:23 p.m. under an abandoned house on Tarboro Street in the area where he had fled, authorities said.

About 150 local, state and federal law enforcement officers spent several hours searching for the fugitive, who escaped shortly before 3 p.m. Tuesday.

The Wilson County Sheriff's Office said Ellis managed to escape while he was being transported from the Wilson County Detention Center to a doctor's appointment.

Officers from several different law-enforcement agencies searched a 20-block area by land and air for Ellis, who escaped wearing an orange jumpsuit and a waist chain and handcuffs, near

Ward Boulevard and Tarboro Street.

Agents went door-to-door in nearby residential areas interviewing residents and checking houses, thinking Ellis might have been inside. They also stopped vehicles and checked trunks.

Several day-care centers and nursing homes in the area were placed on lockdown Tuesday during the search.

The Wilson County Sheriff's Office said Ellis managed to somehow remove leg irons that he had been wearing when he left the Wilson County Detention Center. He then jumped from the van at the Ward Boulevard and Tarboro Street area, authorities said.

Ellis was arrested and charged with one count of murder in September 2004 in connection with the shooting death of a 21-year-old Wilson man, Jonathan Barnes, according to a 2004 news release from the Wilson County Sheriff's Office.

Court records show Ellis was also arrested and charged in connection with five armed robberies over a nine-day period in August 2004.

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