Tennessee on alert for man who escaped Memphis-area prison

After more than 250 tips, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation says they have no credible sightings of the inmate.

Posted: Aug 9, 2019 6:25 PM
Updated: Aug 10, 2019 9:14 AM

The entire state of Tennessee is on alert for a man who escaped a Memphis-area prison.

Curtis Watson is accused of sexually assaulting and strangling a female worker at her home before his escape Wednesday morning. After more than 250 tips, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation says they have no credible sightings of Watson.

Curtis Watson

TBI says a tip that Watson was just 30 miles from Marshall County, Tennessee isn't credible. The bureau shared photos of their command post where agents are working to track down leads and locate Watson. He's put on considerable muscle in the six years he's been behind bars, and he's got many tattoos.

Watson was serving a 15 year sentence for especially aggravated kidnapping, but police have now filed charges of murder, especially aggravated battery and aggravated sexually battery.

They say Watson had been well-behaved in prison, so he was on work release when he stole a tractor Wednesday morning. 

They say he went to Debra Johnson's home, which was on prison grounds, assaulted and strangled her and then took off. Coworkers found her body when she didn't show up for work later that morning.

WAAY 31 has reached out to Fayetteville police and the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office to find out what special measure, if any, they are doing because of the escape. We're waiting to hear back.

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