PALATKA, Fla. – Authorities searched Thursday for two "armed and dangerous" fugitives after a Florida jail escape who are wanted on a murder charge and apparently stole a car found abandoned hundreds of miles away in Kentucky, law enforcement officials said.
Investigators said the car was taken from the home of one of the inmate's relatives, a 66-year-old woman found dead hours after Wednesday's pre-dawn breakout. The Kentucky State Police said the two fugitives are wanted for first-degree murder, escape, grand theft auto and home invasion-robbery.
Law enforcement officers in Monroe County, Ky., recovered a 1999 four-door Lincoln missing from the Florida home of one man's step-grandmother, whose body was found at the home Wednesday afternoon, according to the Putnam County Sheriff's Office.
Doni Ray Brown, 23, of Satsuma and Timothy Wayne Fletcher, 25, of Welaka, are being sought, authorities said.
Kentucky State Trooper Billy Gregory said he had information from Florida authorities that the two were believed headed for Crawfordsville, Ind. But he did not elaborate further on that.
"The public needs to be aware that the two individuals are considered armed and dangerous," Lt. Johnny Greenwood, a Putnam County Sheriff's Office spokesman, said in a news release. He did not immediately respond to messages left by The Associated Press.
Authorities said the men apparently stole another car in Kentucky a day after fleeing from Florida's Putnam County jail around 4 a.m. Wednesday. Both men shared a cell in that jail and authorities said they believe the men stole a series of vehicles after fleeing.
Soon after Wednesday's escape, authorities said they were initially on the lookout for a truck stolen from a Palatka business.
Later Wednesday, authorities said they discovered the body of Helen Kay Googe, 66, of Palatka. Sheriff Jeff Hardy told The Palatka Daily News that Googe was Fletcher's step-grandmother. The stolen truck was found outside Googe's home, but her car was missing.
"We don't know how she died," Chief Deputy Rick Ryan told the newspaper.
Ryan said an off-duty deputy spotted Googe's car in Jacksonville early Wednesday and thought it was unusual for two young men to be driving that Lincoln model. The deputy's tip led investigators to Googe's home.
Brown had been arrested Aug. 17 and charged with robbery with a firearm. Fletcher was arrested March 3 for three counts of failure to appear on an aggravated assault charge.