Ewel Scott caught on Dees Road in Tallahatchie County

Published 7:12 pm Saturday, May 9, 2020

The editor of the Charleston newspaper emailed the following article to The Panolian shortly before 7 p.m. Saturday. He and the editor of the Batesville newspaper have shared coverage of the  escape of Ewel William Scott from the Yalobusha County Detention Center almost 40 days ago. Since then, deputies from several counties and state agencies spent hours and days following up on leads and conducting all-out manhunts with thousands of dollars of equipment and hundreds of man hours looking for the escapee.  Panola County led the search effort on some of  those days, using trucks, ATVs, night vision glasses, drones, and several tracking dogs. Agents from DeSoto County brought a helicopter and searched the southwest portion of Panola and north Tallahatchie extensively to no avail. Never considered dangerous, Scott is a convicted thief, and was described by lawmen as someone who would “steal anything not nailed down.”  The end of the chase came today, quietly, when Scott just stopped running.  The details are below in the report from The Sun-Sentinel. –  JW



Clay McFerrin

The Sun-Sentinel


ENID — A convicted felon who escaped from jail more than a month ago was captured here just before noon on Saturday, saying he was tired of running.

Ewel William Scott, 39, of Enid, had been on the lam since going missing April 1 from the Yalobusha County Detention Center in Water Valley, where he was serving time for felony taking of a motor vehicle.

Scott was apprehended Saturday by Tallahatchie County Constable Jimmy Manues, who found him holed up in a junk pickup near the lawman’s own home on Dees Road.

“He was about 150 yards from the back of my house,” said Manues.  “He was just sitting there in an old pickup truck that someone had parked and left in the woods.”

The District 1 constable said he walked upon the scene while investigating a report from a neighbor who had spotted someone lurking in those woods.

The neighbor was with Manues Saturday when they discovered Scott, the constable noted. The neighbor later told Manues that the escapee was reading a book.

Scott was startled but did not offer any resistance, noted Manues. No weapon was found in his possession.

“He looked like he was just worn out,” the constable noted.  “He was very weak, like he hadn’t had enough food, and he was sort of disoriented.”

“He said, ‘I’m glad it’s you, Mr. Jimmy.  I’m glad you caught me.  I was tired of running anyway.'”

The constable said he was known to Scott, and vice versa, because both they and their families had lived in the community together for years.  Scott’s family home sits about one-and-a-half miles from where he was, Manues noted.

The constable said it was clear that Scott, dressed in “old camouflage clothes” at the time of his capture, had been living off the land without the benefit of any creature comforts.

“He looked like a mountain man: full beard and an old cap pulled down over his head,” Manues noted. 

While Scott had been moving around to elude capture, Manues said the man told him that he had been in those same woods “99 percent of the time” since his escape.

Manues said Scott appeared to have been staying and sleeping in the abandoned truck “for two or three days.” 

The constable said Scott told him that he had been walking to the Yocona River, about one mile away, where he would catch fish at night and cook and eat them on the riverbank.

One piece of his clothing ensemble seemed to reveal how Scott may have so successfully eluded capture for so long, Manues said.

“He had a pair of camouflage gloves on his feet.  I reckon that was so he wouldn’t leave any tracks.” The constable said Scott also told him the gloves helped with “the soreness of his feet, because he had been on his feet so much.”

Scott had a “worn-out” pair of shoes with him, Manues noted, but he had no food or other supplies.

“I’m just glad that we caught him before he got hurt or hurt someone,” the constable noted.

While Scott had no history of violence — past arrests were for grand larceny and breaking and entering — local residents were understandably on edge, he added.

“I think the whole neighborhood on Dees Road is glad he’s been captured,” said Manues, who handed Scott over to Tallahatchie County Sheriff Jimmy Fly for transport back to Yalobusha County early Saturday afternoon.

Fly said he was relieved when word came that Manues had Scott in custody.

“I want to thank Constable Manues for his help, and everyone else,” noted the sheriff, explaining that Tallahatchie County officials had “a lot” of help from Panola and Yalobusha counties as they searched for Scott.

Fly said Panola County led a “big search” the second week of April that included the use of tracking dogs, drones and officers from a half-dozen agencies.

“The Panola County Sheriff’s Office did all we could to assist the Yalobusha Sheriff’s Office in the capture of their inmate Ewel Scott during the times he was reported to be in Panola County,” said Panola Sheriff Shane Phelps. “We are thankful Constable Manues responded quickly to the call of a concerned citizen in Tallahatchie County.”

“I am pleased to say that the citizens of Panola County should rest easy tonight knowing Mr. Scott is back in the Yalobusha County Detention Center,” Phelps said.

Local officials had been following up on “a lot” of tips of possible sightings, the sheriff noted, and had been watching the residences of people with whom Scott had a known association.

“He had hidden out pretty good,” the sheriff conceded.

Fly said that while officials believe Scott “probably had gotten some help” while on the loose, “there was nothing that we could prove.”

The sheriff said Scott is a suspect in the recent Tallahatchie County thefts of a side-by-side all-terrain vehicle and a pickup truck, both of which were stolen within the past month and later recovered.


Tallahatchie County Constable Jimmy Manues