News and Music Discovery
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Authorities Say Escaped Tenn. Inmate In Custody

TBI via Twitter

Authorities say a Tennessee convict suspected of killing a corrections administrator before escaping prison on a tractor has been captured.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said on Twitter that 44-year-old Curtis Ray Watson was caught Sunday. Details on the capture weren't immediately released.

The state police agency says Watson was on lawn mowing duty when he sexually assaulted and strangled a Department of Corrections administrator employee Wednesday at the West Tennessee State Penitentiary in Henning.

TBI says Watson escaped prison grounds, and the tractor was found nearby. Authorities launched an intense manhunt after Debra Johnson's body was found with a cord wrapped around her neck Wednesday morning.

TBI secured warrants for first-degree murder, especially aggravated burglary, and aggravated sexual battery on Thursday.


Officials in Tennessee say there has been a confirmed sighting of a convict charged with sexually assaulting and killing a corrections administrator, then escaping on a tractor.

The Tennessee Department of Corrections says on Twitter that 44-year-old Curtis Ray Watson was spotted early Sunday in the west Tennessee community of Henning, where he escaped from the West Tennessee State Penitentiary on Wednesday.

The department says a resident who saw Watson on their property alerted authorities. Photos provided by the resident show Watson dressed in camouflage bib overalls and a hat and carrying a camp backpack.

An affidavit says Watson was on mowing duties and was discovered missing several hours after he was seen near the house at the penitentiary where 64-year-old employee Debra Johnson had lived. She was found dead.

Related Content