SWAN LAKE, Mont. – The search for two escaped convicts, one of whom was once accused of plotting to kidnap David Letterman's son, focused Wednesday on an area where the duo apparently had been camping.
Authorities said the men are considered armed and dangerous, but they might not have much to wear.
U.S. Forest Service workers spotted William J. Willcutt, 22, and Kelly A. Frank, 45, at about 6 p.m. Tuesday bathing in a creek in the Flathead National Forest near Swan Lake in northwestern Montana, authorities said. Officers searched the area Wednesday, assisted by dogs and a U.S. Department of Homeland Security helicopter.
"We have reason to believe they are scantily clad because they got jumped," Montana State Prison Warden Mike Mahoney said Wednesday. "One was out [of the water] long enough to get partially dressed, but the other didn't have a chance to get much on."
The Forest Service workers checked the men's campsite and found Department of Corrections clothing, an address book and other items that identified the men as Willcutt and Frank.
The two had escaped Friday from a ranch operated by the Montana State Prison near Deer Lodge, about 120 miles south of Swan Lake. Employees at a store in Clancy, near Helena, reported that a man they believed was Willcutt stole three knives, a box of .38-caliber ammunition and food from the business on Sunday.
Willcutt was serving time for burglary and was denied parole earlier this year, and Frank would have been eligible for parole in three months. Both men now face additional prison sentences of up to 10 years for escape, prison spokeswoman Dana Eldredge said.
Frank had been arrested in 2005 on allegations he crafted a plan to kidnap Harry Letterman and the boy's nanny for a $5 million ransom.
A charge of solicitation to kidnap was dropped in return for pleas of guilty to other charges, including felony theft and misdemeanor obstruction. Frank, who worked as a painter at Letterman's ranch, received a 10-year sentence for theft for overcharging Letterman. At the time of his arrest, he was on supervised release for a 1998 conviction for stalking and intimidating a woman.
Letterman's production company has not commented on the escape. Authorities have not said if they have increased security around the talk show host's 2,700-acre Montana ranch.