A suspected murderer led law enforcement on another manhunt for the second time in three weeks. This time it began when he ran out a propped open door at the Texas County Jail.
Daniel G. Campbell, 39, again became the focal point of regional lawmen when he fled through the sally port Monday night and into the cover of a dark night and heavily wooded surroundings. This time he remained at-large for 16 hours before he was apprehended late Tuesday morning outside a residence between Roby and Success.
Campbell, who set off a 70-hour manhunt after allegedly killing one man and injuring another Oct. 25 southwest of Licking, was arrested without incident.
“There aren’t words for the relief I feel,” said Texas County Sheriff James Sigman, who made the arrest. “I’m glad to have it over and nobody was hurt. We have some issues to resolve, and we’ll get that taken care of.”
The biggest being how an alleged killer got loose.
Sigman, who wasn’t on duty, said the door to the sally port, where offenders are loaded and unloaded, was apparently propped open as work was being done on a nearby padded cell room. The garage door to the sally port was also open. Sigman said Campbell was making a phone call down the hallway when he saw the opportunity to flee.
Around 5:40 p.m. Monday, Campbell ran down the hallway, through the unlocked door and out the sally port. He was barefoot and wearing his orange and white jail-issued uniform.
“It’s unclear to me, but it sounds like it was either a piece of wood or paint can that the guys doing the work stuck in front of the door,” Sigman said. “Campbell had been using the phone and when he saw that, he bolted down the hallway and right out the door.”
The escape set off a huge dragnet as multiple agencies converged on Texas County to assist. State, county and local lawmen formed a perimeter around the area and set up a checkpoint at nearby Mineral and Forrest drives, where members of the Houston Police Department, Missouri State Highway Patrol and Texas County Sheriff’s Department checked every vehicle. Sigman issued a warning for the public to remove keys from their vehicles and secure their homes.
A patrol helicopter from Jefferson City joined the search efforts at 7:30 p.m. and made passes back and forth above the woods to the north and east of the Texas County Justice Center.
Just under three hours into the manhunt, authorities were alerted to a stolen vehicle near the Big Piney Sportsman’s Club on Highway B east of Houston. The owner said a 1997 black Dodge extended cab pickup was missing. A deer rifle was inside. Early Tuesday morning, Sigman asked for the public to be on the lookout for the truck.
The break in the case came around 10 a.m. Tuesday. Sigman said he was working at the command post inside the justice center – where more than 30 law enforcement vehicles, including K-9 units, met that morning – at the time.
“We got a call from an individual up here near Roby that knew (Campbell), and said he showed up at the home and asked for a glass of water,” Sigman said. “He gave him a glass of water and fixed him a sandwich, then called our office and told us he was just at the house.”
Sigman, who said the helicopter, K-9 units and other officers were combing the Raymondville area near where the truck was stolen, and another officer sped toward the Highway 17 residence. Campbell was still there.
“I walked up there and started talking to the homeowner,” Sigman said. “I’m looking out toward a building and see (Campbell) appear.”
Sigman said Campbell was arrested around 10:10 a.m. and taken back to the jail. He was wearing blue coveralls and shoes. As he was placed in shackles there, Campbell told officers he planned to head to Montana but that he “just wasn’t fast enough” and “getting too old.”
The stolen pickup was recovered a few miles away behind Union Free Will Baptist Church on Highway M. The unloaded rifle was inside. Ironically, Campbell was hiding inside a different church – Faith and Hope Church of Licking, where his mother pastors – when he was arrested Oct. 28.
Campbell appeared at 3:10 p.m. Tuesday before Judge Douglas Gaston in Courtroom A of the justice center. He will continue to be held without bond.
Sigman thanked the many agencies that assisted with a second manhunt for Campbell.
“Pretty much everyone around either assisted or offered assistance. I couldn’t even tell you how many officers we had at one time. We had a bunch,” Sigman said. “It was quite a joint effort. It’s great to have that many guys wanting to help.”
Monday’s escape is the first time that someone has bolted from custody at the Texas County Jail since it opened in 2010. Here’s a look back at escapes in the last almost four decades. The previous incidents occurred at the Main Street jail:
•November 1981 –– Kenny W. Ray, 25, of Bourbon, escapes through a ceiling and skylight. Freedom is short — one hour.
•August 1987 — Two are captured in the Boiling Springs area after a six-day manhunt to find Darren J. Daniels, 23; and Max D. Miller, 28. They overpowered a jailer with a gun that had been fished from an evidence room.
•December 1990 — A jail trusty walks away on Christmas Day. Steven L. Strong, 31, was arrested a short time later.
•January 1994 — Ted “Ed” Weeks, 51, jail trusty, walks away while dumping the trash. He’s later arrested at Hoxie, Ark.
•April 1998 — Curt J. Ragsdale, 19; and Jeffery Childers, 32, assaulted an officer with a hammer and escaped. Three days later they are arrested in Georgia.
•Nov. 14, 2016 — Accused murderer Daniel Campbell walked out a Texas County Jail door and through an open sally port to escape. He was captured the next morning near Roby.