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Tuesday
Sep252012

Escaped Double Murderer Eluded Bloodhounds, Choppers in NC

WTVD/ABC News(TILLERY, N.C.) -- Bloodhounds that tracked an escaped double murderer were able to follow his scent for only a short distance, making authorities fear on Monday that the convict could have been picked up by an accomplice and could be "hundreds of miles away."

James Ladd, 51, slipped away from the Tillery Correctional Center, a minimum security prison farm, on Sunday morning while doing farm work.  Authorities found his abandoned tractor at 10 a.m., said Keith Acree, a North Carolina prison spokesperson.

A helicopter flew over rural Tillery, N.C., Sunday night searching for the convicted murderer, who was given three consecutive life sentences in 1981.  Bloodhounds also assisted in the ground search, however Acree said they were only able to follow Ladd's scent for a short distance.

"At this point it's been 24 hours, so if he got a ride he could be hundreds of miles away at this point," Acree said.

Ladd was convicted of robbing and fatally shooting two men on a farm 31 years ago.  His prison behavior included only minor infractions, most recently for unauthorized tobacco use, and had won Ladd assignment to the farm, which allowed him to work outside of the prison's walls.

"He's been a good worker on the farm, a very trouble-free inmate," Acree said.

Ladd is now considered dangerous and should not be approached, Acree said.  Anyone who spots the inmate is instead asked to contact local authorities.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio