Benny Ray Blansett (left), Jonathan "Hustle" Blankenship and Christopher Benson High escaped from two separate Mississippi prisons early Friday, authorities said.
Photo: Mississippi Department of Corrections
Photo: Mississippi Department of Corrections

Inmates captured after escaping from Mississippi state penitentiary

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Authorities said Christopher Benson High, 28, and Jonathan Blankenship, 31, were in custody Wednesday after they escaped from the Central Mississippi Correctional Facility in Pearl.

A third inmate who also escaped Friday, Benny Ray Blansett, 59, was captured late Saturday after he escaped Friday from his cell at the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman.

Update 1:05 p.m. EDT July 10: Authorities announced Wednesday that Jonathan Blankenship, 31, and Christopher Benson High, 28, were in custody after escaping from the Central Mississippi Correctional Facility in Pearl.

Both men were captured in Meridian without incident, according to the Mississippi Department of Corrections.

Officials said Blankenship is serving a five-year sentence for aggravated assault on a police officer and conspiracy to commit a crime in Alcorn County. High is serving a 12-year sentence for burglary larceny of an unoccupied dwelling in Carroll County.

Authorities are investigating how the men escaped from custody.

Update 2:50 p.m. EDT July 8: Officials with the Mississippi Department of Corrections said Monday that they have received a tip that Jonathan Blankenship, 31, and Christopher Benson High, 28, could be in Rankin County. Authorities told residents "to be on alert ... in the area of Pearson Road and Highway 468."

“Tips received are being investigated,” Commissioner Pelicia E. Hall said Monday in a statement. “However, we have no confirmed sightings, and citizens should report anything out of the ordinary no matter how minor it is. The smallest detail could be significant in situations like this.”

The FBI and the Mississippi Crime Stoppers are offering a combined reward of up to $12,500 for information leading to the arrest of the two escapees.

Authorities said Blankenship is serving a five-year sentence for aggravated assault on a police officer and conspiracy to commit a crime in Alcorn County. High is serving a 12-year sentence for burglary larceny of an unoccupied dwelling in Carroll County.

Original report: One Mississippi inmate has been captured and two others are still at large after they escaped from two separate prisons, officials said early Sunday.

According to the Mississippi Department of Corrections, police captured Benny Ray Blansett, 59, in Sunflower County late Saturday, more than a day after he escaped from his cell at the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman early Friday. 

Blansett, who was sentenced to life in prison after he was convicted of assaulting a police officer, forgery, burglary and two counts of escape, is now facing another escape charge, the department said in a Facebook post.

Authorities are still searching for Jonathan "Hustle" Blankenship, 31, and Christopher Benson High, 28, who vanished from the Central Mississippi Correctional Facility in Pearl early Friday. Blankenship was sentenced to five years in prison after he was convicted of assaulting an officer and conspiring to commit a crime, while High was serving a 12-year sentence following a burglary/larceny conviction, the department said

Before Blansett was apprehended, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Crime Stoppers announced they were offering rewards of as much as $12,500 for the inmates' capture.


 

Authorities described Blankenship as a 5-foot-10-inch tall, 200-pound white man with blond hair, blue eyes, and facial and neck tattoos. High, who is white with brown hair and hazel eyes, stands about 5 feet, 7 inches tall, weighs 145 pounds and has tattoos on his arms and chest, the department said. Both are believed to be armed, officials said.

Anyone who has information about their whereabouts should contact the Mississippi Department of Corrections at 662-745-6611, ext. 4200; Crime Stoppers at 601-355-TIPS or www.P3tips.com; or the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation at 601-987-1530.

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