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Manhunt Still On for Lifer Who Escaped from S.C. Maximum-Security Prison

Jimmy Causey, escaped from Lieber Correctional Institution maximum-security prison in Ridgeville, S.C. (South Carolina Department of Corrections via AP)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Authorities continued to search Thursday for an inmate who has made his second escape from a maximum-security South Carolina prison, offering a reward for information leading to his capture.

Officers with the Department of Corrections and state police began their search for convicted kidnapper Jimmy Causey at around 2 p.m. Wednesday, according to prisons officials. No other details on the escape have been released, and authorities warn anyone who encounters the inmate not to approach him and to call 911.

Causey, 46, escaped this week from Lieber Correctional Institution, about 90 miles (149 km) southeast of Columbia. In 2005, he and another inmate escaped Broad River Correctional Institution near Columbia by hiding in a trash truck.

The pair eluded authorities for three days before being apprehended at a motel along busy Interstate 95, not far from the prison where Causey escaped on Wednesday. A pizza delivery driver told The Associated Press in 2005 that she tipped off authorities when she recognized a customer as one of the two men being sought by authorities.

Both men were returned to prison. Two years later, the other escapee was found hanging from a bed sheet in his cell. Grilled by state lawmakers about how the escape happened, then-prisons director Jon Ozmint blamed budget cutbacks that had forced his department to cut 800 security positions, leaving some areas like the trash compactor and loading dock unmonitored by officers.

The director also said the men had fashioned fake heads out of toilet paper and put them in their beds, fooling officers at a 7:15 a.m. prisoner count. After a 9:00 a.m. count came up short, officials did a roll call and realized the two were missing.

Causey was sentenced to life in prison in 2004 after he was convicted of holding Columbia attorney Jack Swerling and his family at gunpoint in their home. He was first incarcerated in state prison in 1992 on charges including grand larceny, according to online records.

In December, another inmate serving a life sentence escaped from a different maximum-security prison in South Carolina. Authorities said 47-year-old Michael Allen Williamson stabbed a police officer during his escape from McCormick Correctional Institution in the western part of the state. The officer’s protective vest deflected many blows, but she was treated for two stab wounds to her arm and shoulder.

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