Escaped inmate from the Missouri State Fair cleanup detail found unconscious

Shannon Watts

SEDALIA, Mo. — Authorities located an inmate who escaped from a crew helping to clean up after the Missouri State Fair ended.

Missouri Department of Corrections captured Shannon Dewayne Watts, of Springfield, Tuesday morning in Green Ridge outside Sedalia. Authorities say he was found unconscious with apparent head injuries. He is hospitalized with the injuries.

Watts escaped the cleanup detail early Monday morning. The Corrections Emergency Response Team (CERT), local law enforcement and the Missouri State Highway Patrol conducted a thorough search of the fairgrounds and then, with the aid of the corrections dog team, expanded the search throughout the area.

Watts is serving a 15-year sentence there for charges including burglary, resisting arrest and tampering with a motor vehicle.

Sunday marked the final day of the 11-day Missouri State Fair. All year, teams of minimum-security work-release offenders perform maintenance and other work under close supervision at the fairgrounds. Larger teams are tapped during fair season to help with setup, cleanup, grounds-keeping and other duties.