Local News

Convicted Rapist Still On the Lam

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CLINTON — It's been more than a day, and there's still no sign of a convictedrapist who disappeared from a prison in Sampson County.

James Pittman was suppose to be serving a life sentence. But now, he's a free man and that has a lot of people concerned. After a thoroughinvestigation of the fences surrounding the Sampson County CorrectionalCenter, authorities found no evidence of an escape. They now believePittman may have slipped out on a delivery truck, but it's uncertainwhether or not he may have had outside help.

The prison emergency response team only comes out when someone breaks out.People along the back roads of Duplin County saw an unusual sightThursday-- armed men and women preparing for a manhunt.

Fifty-eight-year-old James Pittman was serving a life term for raping ateenage girl 10 years ago in Duplin County. Corrections officers think heslipped out of the Sampson Correctional Center in a delivery truck beforethe 2:00 p.m. head count Wednesday. Many hope he's back inside for thenext head count.

Clinton resident, Trista Jones, says Pittman's escape has her concerned.She says she doesn't feel safe. Jones is taking extra precautions andkeeping her doors locked.

A medical problem may be working against the escapee. Assistant PrisonSuperintendent Jim Bullock says Pittman has a heart condition is has beentaking medication. That doesn't make him any less dangerous. Bullocksays that even with Bullock's condition, he is considered a threat tosociety.

James Pittman has family in both Sampson and Duplin County. That's wheresearch teams are concentrating their efforts. Officers say there havebeen a few reported sightings of Pittman, but so far none have panned out.