Inmate escapes while cleaning up after Missouri State Fair

Posted at 1:36 PM, Aug 19, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-19 15:26:24-04

SEDALIA, Mo. (AP)  — Authorities are looking for an inmate who escaped from a crew that was helping to clean up after the Missouri State Fair came to an end for the year.

Missouri Department of Corrections spokesman Karen Pojmann said 34-year-old Shannon Dewayne Watts, of Springfield, was reported missing around 12:45 a.m. Monday when he didn't return to a van to return to the Tipton Correctional Center. He was serving a 15-year sentence there for charges that included burglary, resisting arrest and tampering with a motor vehicle.

The search was expanded beyond the nearly 400-acre fairgrounds in Sedalia several hours later when law enforcement couldn't find Watts. He is described as 6 feet tall and 195 pounds.

The 11-day fair began Aug. 8 and ended Sunday night.

Anyone who sees Watts should contact local law enforcement or the Missouri State Highway Patrol.