Authorities searched Thursday for a convicted murderer who escaped from the federal prison complex in Pollock.

Richard Lee McNair, 47, escaped in a mail van Wednesday after hiding in a warehouse, officials said. He is a martial arts expert and has a history of carjacking, said Rapides Parish sheriff's Maj. Mike Slocum.

A search was centered in the Tioga area where McNair was later spotted, Slocum said. The FBI, federal marshals and local police agencies were using helicopters and search dogs, as well as teams on foot, horseback and four-wheelers.

McNair is serving a life sentence for killing a trucker at a grain elevator in Minot, N.D. in 1988, during a burglary attempt. Originally from Oklahoma, he came to Minot with the Air Force, and was in the military at the time of the killing.

Authorities said Wednesday's breakout was the third time McNair had escaped.

In February 1988, he used a tube of lip balm to grease up his hand and slip out of handcuff, officials said. He was captured after he jumped from the third floor of a building near a Minot hospital.

The second escape came from a state prison in Bismarck.