Search area extended for Muscogee Prison escapee

A day after walking away from a work detail at Chalbena Avenue and Teresa Street on Friday, Muscogee County Prison escapee Avery Javon Kirksey managed to elude Columbus police and prison search teams on Saturday.

“We are still hoping,” warden Dwight Hamrick said of capturing the prisoner.

Kirksey, 26, of Statesboro was spotted Friday afternoon during a burglary in the 1600 block of Schatulga Road. Hamrick said authorities have extended the search area some five miles from the prison facility on Schatulga Road.

Police said the burglary occurred about 5:35 p.m., four hours after he left an armed work detail. Kirksey was surprised by the home owner as he was leaving the home.

An investigation revealed the escapee tossed his white uniform with “State Prisoner” printed on the back and stole a suit of clothing from the home. Hamrick said Kirksey is now wearing a white shirt, kahki pants, some type of shoes and possibly a Miami Heat baseball cap.

Inside the home, the victim said he also is missing a wedding band. Police said the property included $3,000 worth of jewelry and $200 in clothing.

Marked and unmarked law enforcement vehicles were patrolling neighborhoods on the city’s east side near Kendrick High School, Wesley Heights, Carver Park and the Forrest Park neighborhoods.

If Kirksey is seen in the area, Hamrick said residents should call 9-1-1. Authorities checked two or three possible calls on the suspect Saturday but came up empty, the warden said.

Although Kirksey is not known to have a weapon, Hamrick said authorities will treat the escapee as though he is armed.

“We proceed like they are armed,” the warden said. “We look at it that way.”

Kirksey is scheduled for release in 2021, but he now faces additional charges of escape and burglary. He was serving time for possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, possession of marijuana with intent to distribute and obstruction of a law enforcement officer.

He is described as black, 6-feet tall and weighing about 160 pounds.

Officers hunting the escapee remain hopeful that he will be captured.

“We haven’t turned up anything,” Hamrick said. “We are going to keep after it.”