Hunt continues for three teen escapees; ‘They are receiving help and shelter from someone,’ sheriff says

Published 10:54 am Thursday, January 11, 2024

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NATCHEZ — Adams County Sheriff Travis Patten said this morning law enforcement has fielded and followed up on more than 300 calls or tips from the community in reference to three escapees who were last spotted in Natchez on Monday.

The three teenagers are suspected of carjacking an elderly woman near the parking lot of Stanton Baptist Church on Monday and shooting the woman before taking her gold-colored Ford Fusion. The trio has not been spotted since. Although officials have received numerous reports of car sightings, none have proven to be of the stolen vehicle.

One of the juveniles who escaped is 17-year-old Tayshon Holmes from Natchez, who at age 15 was arrested and charged with the murder of 19-year-old Bill Calvin Jr. The other two are Robert Earl Smith,16, and Jashon Jones, 15.

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The three teens escaped overnight Sunday from the Henley-Young-Patton Youth Detention Center in Hinds County. The same teens escaped the facility in July 2023.

The Natchez woman was transferred from Merit Health Natchez to a Jackson hospital where she was in critical condition and underwent surgery on Tuesday.

Patten said the Adams County Sheriff’s Office, Natchez Police Department and U.S. Marshals Service have been out in force searching for the escapees since the carjacking on Monday.

“We have received calls from the north, south, east and west portions of Adams County and the City of Natchez. We have worked to corroborate the stories by reviewing video footage in the areas where the calls originated from. The video footage we have been able to obtain has not confirmed any of these sightings were the actual suspects,” Patten said.

He said the only person whose story of seeing the escapees has been confirmed is the victim who was shot in the arm during the carjacking.

“Here is what we do know. That sighting has been corroborated,” he said. “The vehicle that was stolen has not been recovered. There have not been any more tips in reference to the gold Ford Fusion.

“Here is what we believe: That the vehicle has been stashed somewhere. That they are receiving help and shelter from someone. That they will be caught with the help of the public,” Patten said.

He said during the search for the suspects in Adams County on Wednesday night, deputies arrested escapee Tayshon Holmes’ father, Shonte Holmes, 47.

“He was arrested on unrelated outstanding bench warrants. Tayshon Holmes’ uncle, Shonkeith Holmes, also 47, was also arrested on unrelated bench warrants. Neither of these individuals are believed to be helping the escapees at this time,” Sheriff Patten said.

“The search for these escapees will continue on until they are caught, but there is a chance that they have left Adams County. We can neither confirm they are still here nor say definitely that they have left.

“The community is gripped with fear right now and we certainly understand why. Rather than live in fear, we ask that you just be aware of your surroundings as you go about your day. Know that we are still out in full force and will continue to check on every tip as we proceed with working this active investigation,” Patten said. “As always, if you see something, say something.”

Call 911 or Crime Stoppers at 1-888-442-5001.

“Know that we are out in full force and using all available technology to capture these escapees,” the sheriff said.