Muscogee Prison escapee wasn't captured in Columbus

The Muscogee County Prison inmate who walked away from a work detail last week was not in Columbus when he was captured Tuesday by the Georgia Department of Corrections Fugitive Squad and the U.S. Marshals Service.

Warden Dwight Hamrick said Thursday that details of Avery Javon Kirksey’s capture are still unknown days after state and federal authorities took him into custody outside of Columbus.

“He wasn’t here,” the warden said. “I just don’t know where. They haven’t told me anything.”

Kirksey, 26, of Statesboro, Ga., wasn’t returned to the prison located off Schatulga Road in east Columbus. He is currently being held at a state prison.

Hamrick believes the inmate needed help to leave the city. “If he got away from here, he did not walk it,” he said. “He got in touch with somebody who knew him.”

Kirksey left the work detail site at Chalbena Avenue and Teresa Street around 1:40 p.m. July 11 after claiming he needed to use the restroom. Four hours later, Columbus police said Kirksey was surprised by a homeowner as he was leaving a home on Schatulga Road. At the home, the prisoner changed into new clothes and left his white uniform with “State Prisoner” printed on the back behind the home.

Authorities tightened patrols in the Forrest Park area and the search was extended five miles from the prison facility to track Kirksey. “I don’t know when he left, I don’t know how he left and I don’t know where he is at,” the warden said.

Before escaping, Kirksey was 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 going to get a whole bunch of more time,” the warden said.

Hamrick said he hopes to get more information on Kirksey by the end of this week.