Chowan sheriff: inmate holds jail staff hostage and escapes, search underway

CHOWAN, N.C. (WITN) – The Chowan Sheriff Office’s says a search is underway for an escaped inmate who held jail staff hostage.

Officials say they responded to the Chowan County jail for an escaped inmate on Thursday around 5:30 a.m.

When they arrived, they found staff at the jail had been detained and held hostage by the inmate before he escaped.

That inmate was identified as Russell Heath. He is described as a 47-year-old white male and is 6 feet tall, weighing 190 pounds. Deputies say he was last seen wearing khaki pants, a blue flannel shirt, and a white t shirt. He was also wearing white socks but no shoes and eye glasses.

Heath was being held for non-violent related crimes.

Other state and federal agency assistance are working together to bring Heath back in custody of the Chowan County Jail.

Anyone with any information on his whereabouts are asked to call the Chowan County Sheriff’s Office at (252)-482-8484. You may also call our anonymous tip line at (252)-482-5100

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