Three more arrested in relation to inmate escape over the weekend

Published 4:24 pm Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Over the weekend, four inmates escaped from the Pearl River County jail, all of which are now back in custody

Maj. Marc Ogden with the Pearl River County Sheriff’s Department said the four men escaped from the jail at about 1 a.m. Sunday when they used a small access point in a wall to get into a maintenance corridor, climb a piece of HVAC equipment and then use a sheet to shimmy down the wall of the facility.

Ogden said the access point was incredibly small.

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“It must have hurt when they went through it,” Ogden said.

Two of the four inmates who escaped were back in custody by Sunday morning; they are identified as 40-year-old Wilmer Jose Pavon-Hercules, and 30-year-old David Charles Smith.

Sheriff David Allison said that David Smith was apprehended in the area of the fairgrounds in Poplarville and Poplarville Police apprehended Pavon-Hercules at a business in the area of Highway 53. Both were captured on Sunday morning between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m.

Pavon Hercules is being held for a Sept. 12 arrest for disorderly conduct, simple assault, resisting arrest by fleeing in motor vehicle, careless driving, no driver’s license, no proof of insurance and DUI.

David Smith is being held for a prior arrest of arson of a dwelling.

The other two inmates 45-year-old Rodney Wayne Smith, who was being held for two counts of contempt of court, a hold for another agency and probation violation; and 28-year-old Jonathan Theo Culpepper, who was being held for taking away of a motor vehicle, were captured early Tuesday morning.

Sheriff David Allison said that after receiving information about the whereabouts of Rodney Smith and Culpepper, agents with the U.S. Marshals Service, MDOC and Sheriff’s Department went to a home at 624 Old Camp Road.

Smith, who was the mastermind of the escape, was taken into custody after a short chase by MDOC since he was their inmate, and Culpepper is currently being held in lockdown at the jail in Millard, Allison said.

Three other individuals were arrested for their alleged involvement in the escape, they include 52-year-old Lisa Annamarie Fornea, 52-year-old Joseph R. Head and 62-year-old Mary Riley, all of 624 Old Camp Road. All three were arrested for accessory after the fact and harboring a fugitive. Ogden said Riley was additionally charged with manufacture of marijuana.

Ogden said several agencies assisted in the search for the missing inmates, including the U.S. Marshals and Mississippi Department of Corrections personnel. Agencies in surrounding jurisdictions were also on the lookout.

Sheriff Allison said that he would like to thank MDOC and the Picayune and Poplarville Police Departments for their assistance in tracking the escapees.