Editor's note: This article has been updated to include information from a Heavener Police Department news release.
An escaped Pettis County inmate has eluded law enforcement again, this time in Oklahoma.
According to a Heavener, Oklahoma, Police Department news release, officers were called to the Choctaw Travel Plaza just before 7 a.m. Wednesday by a woman claiming to be a kidnapping victim. She told officers she had been kidnapped and forced to drive at gunpoint. When they stopped at the gas station, her kidnapper, later identified as 30-year-old Travis Davis, fell asleep and she fled the car to get help.
When officers made contact with Davis, he attempted to flee but was caught by officers from HPD and the Oklahoma Department of Corrections. They handcuffed Davis, who they later learned was an escaped inmate from Missouri, and placed him in the backseat of a HPD vehicle.
“When we got to the scene she was not in this guy’s control but she pointed us toward him and told who he was,” Heavener Chief Ty Armstrong told the Democrat. “He attempted to escape from officers but they caught him, cuffed him and put him in the car. He somehow got the cuffs to the front of him and somehow managed to get through the window in the partition while my guys were inteviewing the victim. He went through the window, stole the car and went approximately 2 miles and crashed then fled on foot.”
The Heavener Ledger reports law enforcement is searching for Davis between Heavener and Howe, Oklahoma. Schools in the area posted updates on their Facebook pages that buildings were on lockdown Wednesday as the manhunt was underway.
Armstrong said his department has called in assistance from the Le Flore County Sheriff’s Office, Oklahoma Highway Patrol and numerous other agencies; when Davis fled, he left Heavener city limits. Law enforcement is in active search mode with a perimeter of several square miles and K9s and officers on the ground searching. According to the news release, Davis was last seen on Old Highway 59 just south of the Town of Howe.
“We had a good dog track going (Wednesday) morning but the rain stalled it, we’ve been in a heavy downpour,” Armstrong said.
Heavener has a population of about 3,400 and Armstrong described it as a rural area. He said there is a railroad that runs through the search grid and while unconfirmed, it is a possibility Davis got on a Kansas City Southern train car.
Pettis County Sheriff Kevin Bond said Davis was found missing from his Pettis County Jail cell block Sunday night. Staff discovered Davis was missing during the jail’s nightly lockdown and headcount at 10:30 p.m. After jail staff recounted inmates, the Sheriff’s Office was notified between 10:45 and 11 p.m.
Bond said it was later determined Davis had escaped “earlier in the day” several hours prior to headcount. He said Davis was able to kick out some cinder blocks from a wall that gave him access to the facility’s maintenance area. He escaped from that area, although it remains unknown how he fully exited the jail.
Davis, of Sedalia, was being held on a $100,000 bond in connection to last month’s hostage situation in the 400 block of Buckner Court. He has been charged with kidnapping, first-degree domestic assault, first-degree endangering the welfare of a child, and resisting arrest. He was charged Monday with escape from confinement and issued a $100,000 cash-only bond.
Davis is a 6-foot-tall white male weighing 150 pounds. He has brown hair and blue eyes and several tattoos, including an eye within a triangle on the front of his neck. He was last seen wearing a white T-shirt and gray pants.
Bond said Davis is considered dangerous and advised the public to not approach him. Anyone with information about Davis regarding the escape or Davis’ location is encouraged to contact local law enforcement or the LeFlore County Sheriff’s Office at 918-647-3426.
According to a Sedalia Police Department news release, at 12:54 p.m. Feb. 13, SPD received a tip that Davis was in an apartment in the 400 block of Buckner Court. Davis had a felony parole warrant and was wanted for felony charges of resisting arrest in another incident.
Officers were voluntarily let into the apartment to arrest Davis, but he fled into a bedroom and locked the door. Inside, he held a woman and toddler-aged boy, threatening to harm the victims with a gun.
Officers negotiated with Davis over the next two hours for the release of the child and woman. The child was released. Officers later took advantage of an opportunity to arrest Davis and freed the woman. Davis resisted arrest but was taken into custody. Sedalia Police Chief Matt Wirt said they did not find a gun or weapon.
According to online court records, Davis was convicted of resisting arrest in 2007, possession of marijuana in 2007 and resisting arrest in 2015. Just days before the hostage situation, Davis was charged with resisting arrest charge in another case; that charge led to the warrant served Feb. 13.