Capital murder suspect escapes jail in Mississippi

Authorities are searching for murder suspect Rafael McCloud.

Authorities are searching for murder suspect Rafael McCloud.  (Warren County Jail)

The manhunt is on for a capital murder suspect who escaped from a Mississippi county jail Wednesday and is considered armed and dangerous.

Rafael McCloud, 34, used a makeshift weapon to briefly hold a jail employee hostage and forced the employee to give McCloud his clothes, Warren County Sheriff Martin Pace told the The Clarion-Ledger.

“He forced the guard to disrobe and then put on his clothes,” Pace told The Vicksburg Post. “He then held the shank against the guard as they went downstairs and he left through a side door.”

McCloud also took a radio and keys, the sheriff said. Both items were recovered later on the grounds of the jail.

McCloud was indicted in January for capital murder, burglary, rape, sexual battery without consent, attempted arson, larceny-motor vehicle and possession of a weapon. He's suspected in the death of Sharon Wilson, 69, whose body was found outside an abandoned hospital by ghost hunters.

Vicksburg Police Chief Walter Armstrong told The Associated Press between 25 and 30 officers are involved in the search along with multiple units from the sheriff's department. He said the search is centered about ½ mile northeast of the jail.

Armstrong said police are concentration the search in along Martin
Luther King Boulevard and area where McCloud previously lived.

The Vicksburg-Warren School District has place several schools in the search area on lockdown.

“We are going to keep people on duty until this man is caught," Armstrong told The Vicksburg Post. "It’s important that we catch him. He is armed and desperate and extremely dangerous.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.