3 ESCAPEES: Barry County sheriff asks for U.S. Marshals assistance; escaped through the ceiling

Published: Jun. 6, 2022 at 1:38 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 6, 2022 at 8:51 PM CDT
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CASSVILLE, Mo. (KY3) - The Barry County Sheriff’s Office turned over the search for the escapees to the U.S. Marshals.

Sheriff Danny Boyd says the three should be considered armed and dangerous. Do not approach them.

“The good thing about having the U.S. Marshals on board is they have a whole lot more technology that they can use than what we have, and with the U.S. Marshals, that’s United States wide,” Sheriff Boyd says.

Lance Justin Stephens, Matthew Allen Crawford, and Christopher Allen Blevins escaped on the night of June 2. Investigators say the three men cut a hole in the ceiling and entered a water heater storage area. They broke an exit door around what deputies believe to be 8:30 pm. All three face additional escape charges.

“Our COs, when they were doing bed checks, had some stuff going on in booking, and they were not able to do the actual check-in when they were supposed to on the inmates,” Sheriff Boyd says.

Sheriff Boyd says he believes the three men are no longer in the area and are likely in Kansas.

“The night that they escaped, there was a farm truck out on Y highway that ended up being stolen,” Sheriff Boyd says. “It’s the same time period that they got out, and they recovered that truck yesterday over in Kansas.”

It wasn’t until Friday morning that those jail workers discovered the inmates were missing.

According to Sheriff Boyd, those employees are not on any form of administrative leave at this time.

Sheriff Boyd says there are only two staff members working in the jail at a time.

He says being short-staffed had had a significant impact on the department.

“Nobody can go in the back to deal with the inmates,” Sheriff Boyd says. “You can’t go back there by yourself. You always have to have somebody with you, which would leave the front booking office open. It’s a safety issue all the way around, and if we don’t have enough people to staff it, we have to go with what we’ve got and do it the best we can.”

Roger Hymas lives outside city limits in a rural part of Barry County.

Hymas says it’s scary for his family knowing the inmates haven’t been caught.

“Keep an eye out and keep your doors locked,” Hymas says. “Don’t trust anybody walking in your yard.”

Steve McLaughlin says he moved to the area because it was supposed to be safer.

“Right back into sleeping with a shotgun next to your bed,” McLaughlin says.

Although McLoughlin says he isn’t concerned for his safety, he is for others within the community.

“As far as me, I can handle myself,” McLaughlin says. “But there are a lot of people who can’t, and they can take advantage of someone really easily.”

Sheriff Boyd says he will share any new leads with the marshals. If you see the three men or know where they might be, call 911 or the Barry County dispatch at 417-847-4911.

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