Two escapees accused of killing two guards have ditched the Honda they carjacked and may be riding in a pickup truck.
Baldwin State Prison inmates Ricky Dubose and Donnie Rowe may be traveling in a white, 2008 Ford F-250 truck stolen from the Seven Islands Road area of Morgan County between 6 p.m. Tuesday and 6 a.m. Wednesday, Putnam County Sheriff Howard Sills said.
The work truck is not in “pristine condition,” he said. It has a dent in the right rear quarter panel, silver tool boxes on both sides and the trailer hitch has been removed.
A 2004 Honda Civic carjacked from a passerby near where the guards were shot to death early Tuesday has since been found, an official familiar with the search told The Telegraph.
Digital Access For Only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
The dark green, four-door sedan with a Georgia Bulldog tag on the front turned up not far from the scene of a burglary in Morgan County.
In an afternoon news conference in Morgan County, Sills called the men “violent recidivist criminals” who came back into the system “time and time again.”
They are now wanted for murder in the slaying of two corrections officer on a prison bus on Ga. 16 between Sparta and Eatonton just before 7 a.m. Tuesday.
Sills said that as a result of many significant contributions the reward for information that leads to the arrest of Rowe and Dubose is now $115,000.
Ricky Myrick, an assistant commissioner with the Georgia Department of Corrections, said Dubose and Rowe had been cellmates before.
Sills said the men got through a barrier in the bus and overpowered the guards. They were shot with one of their state-issued handguns.
Myrick said transfers happen often so that inmates don’t get too familiar with their surroundings.
No one knows where the inmates are headed, but Dubose is from northeast Georgia and Rowe has ties to Tennessee.
Sills said marshals, sheriffs and agents are on alert across the country.
Investigators began following leads on the inmates’ families and friends as soon as they were identified as suspects.
Dubose and Rowe left behind their prison clothes when they broke into a house off U.S. 441 in Morgan County about 10:45 a.m. Tuesday.
“They ransacked the house pretty thoroughly,” Sills said.
No money was taken from that house, but they could have had money stashed if the escape was planned, he said.
Sills expects they will commit other thefts to fuel their getaway.
“There could be money taken that no one has reported yet,” he said.
The command center for the investigation moved Tuesday night from Putnam County to Morgan County after the burglary was reported.
Sills does not believe the men are still near Madison or Eatonton, which is a relief for his community.
“I don’t think there’s much fear because they’re not here anymore.”
The sheriff said they were not able to confirm a reported sighting Tuesday at the Family Dollar Store near Madison.
The men, authorities said, may have split up by now.
Law enforcement Facebook pages have plastered the inmates’ mug shots on social media.
The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office posted an open letter to “Donnie and Ricky.”
“What is done is done,” the letter begins and asks the men to surrender.
“You made your escape, but you won’t be out long. Every lawman in the Southeast is looking for you. Every citizen in the Southeast is looking for you.”
The note tells the men: “There is no one you can trust… and nowhere you can go that we won’t find you. … “Why wait, spending hours and days looking over your shoulder and wondering when we will kick the door in.”
Tributes to the slain corrections officers are posted on the Officer Down Memorial Page.
Billue was was with the Georgia Department of Corrections for 10 years, and Monica had eight years of service.
Myrick said their families “are struggling.”
Telegraph staff writer Joe Kovac Jr. contributed to this report.