October 27, 2020

Manhunt continues, reward offered for escapees, accused guard killers

(Putnam County, GA) — Following a fatal attack on two Georgia Department of Corrections officers yesterday, Gov. Nathan Deal vowed to deploy every state resource necessary to help capture two inmates escaped from custody.

“Today, two families lost everything in a heinous and senseless act of violence perpetrated at the hands of cowards. Words do not adequately express our sorrow in losing Sergeant Christopher Monica and Sergeant Curtis Billue in the line of duty,” said Deal.

“The selflessness and courage of these two brave souls will not be forgotten, nor will their sacrifice and service. Sandra and I mourn alongside their families and communities, and we offer our deepest sympathies to their loved ones. Our heartbreak is matched only in our resolve to bring their murderers to justice. No effort will be spared in pursuit of the killers, and no state resources required in this endeavor will be spared.”

Led by the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office, multiple local, state and federal agencies are assisting in the investigation.

The multi-state manhunt intensified early Wednesday for two Georgia inmates serving long prison sentences and “dangerous beyond description” who overpowered and killed two guards on a prison bus before fleeing in a stolen car, authorities said.

The deadly escape happened about 6:45 a.m. Tuesday as the guards drove 33 inmates between prisons, and it set off a massive manhunt involving local, state and federal officers, Putnam County Sheriff Howard Sills said. Sills was emotional as he described the scene.

“I saw two brutally murdered corrections officers, that’s what I saw,” he said. “I have their blood on my shoes.”

Donnie Russell Rowe, serving life without parole, and Ricky Dubose, who has prominent tattoos on his face and neck, overpowered, disarmed and killed Sgt. Christopher Monica and Sgt. Curtis Billue and then carjacked a driver who happened to pull up behind the bus on a rural highway, Sills said.

They got into the “grass green,” four-door 2004 Honda Civic with the Georgia license plate number RBJ-6601 and drove west on state Highway 16 toward Eatonton, southeast of Atlanta.

This combo of updated photos provided by the Georgia Department of Corrections shows inmates Ricky Dubose, left, and Donnie Russell Rowe

State law enforcement agencies involved in the manhunt include the Georgia Department of Corrections, Georgia Bureau of Investigation, the Georgia Department of Public Safety, and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. Joining them are our federal partners from the U.S. Marshals Southeast Regional Fugitive Task Force, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation increased the reward to $70,000, from $60,000, for information leading to their capture, reports CBS Atlanta affiliate WGCL-TV.

Local law enforcement officers engaged in the effort include the Baldwin, Greene, Henry and Jasper Counties Sheriffs’ Offices and the Eatonton Police Department.

“Finally, I urge all those in the surrounding areas to be vigilant and cautious while the killers remain at large. They are extremely dangerous,” added Governor Deal. “Anyone with information regarding the whereabouts should immediately contact 9-1-1.”

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