Northeastern Oklahoma Correctional Center inmate escapes, residents take caution

Posted at 5:42 PM, Aug 08, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-09 06:27:55-04

VINITA, Okla. -- An inmate is on the run after escaping from the northeastern Oklahoma Correctional Center Sunday night.

Corrections officers noticed William Stewart was missing from the Vinita facility during a headcount. 

The facility is minimum security where prisoners are allowed to walk freely, which is how Stewart escaped, say officials.

Stewart stands 5' 8", weighs about 165 pounds and has brown hair and blue eyes and has tattoos on his arms, hands, back and chest. 

Authorities say they aren't sure where he went, but they are asking citizens to stay alert.

Maxine Beisley says she took precautions right away after hearing an inmate escaped from the Northeastern Oklahoma Correctional Center Sunday night.

"Immediately I thought, are our keys in the car? And one was and so I stepped to the door and with the remote I locked the car doors.”

Craig County Sheriff’s officials say William Stewart was last seen on surveillance video walking out of the prison yard between 6 and 8 pm.

Authorities believe Stewart is no longer in Craig County. Jimmie Sooter, Craig County sheriff says, “I would say he probably had someone waiting to come pick him up and he’s probably long gone, and he’ll pop up somewhere in the next several days or weeks. They can’t stay hidden for very long.”

Stewart began serving his sentence at the NEOCC in 2014 for possession of a controlled substance. Officials say they don’t consider Stewart armed or dangerous, but are asking residents to not approach him if they see him.

Jail records show this is Stewart's fourth time to escape from prison. In the 90's he escaped from the Mayes and Craig County jails. Stewart was expected to serve his sentence at the until 2022.

Anyone with information is asked to call 911.

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