PINE BLUFF, Ark., — Murderer Timothy Buffington reportedly grabbed a female hostage and a shotgun – with extra ammunition – when he escaped prison Saturday night. The unidentified woman, however, was able to escape his grasp on Sunday.
A convicted killer, 15 years into serving a 20-year sentence, Buffington ran away from a work detail Saturday evening from the Arkansas Department of Corrections, Pine Bluff Unit, which is just 150 miles outside of Texarkana. The ADC notified law enforcement agencies throughout the state and surrounding areas that Buffington has escaped.
“We’re not discussing in detail the issue surrounding his escape right now,” said Shea Wilson,” ACD public information officer. “We will shift our attention to how this happened once we get him back,” she said.
It’s been reported elsewhere, however, that Buffington escaped by taking a female hostage, a shotgun and a back pack of extra ammunition. The hostage was reportedly able to escape Sunday evening. It is unknown if that hostage was a prison guard or someone else.
Buffington, who was 31 in 1998 when he committed his crime, shot his ex-wife, Rhonda Combs, 23, in the back of the head with a rifle while she sat in her boyfriend’s pickup outside of the Booneville city limits. Buffington shot his ex-wife after being involved in a custody battle over the couple’s two children. Buffington was convicted of First Degree Murder in 1999 and sentenced to 20 years in prison.
Buffington, who may also go by “Bo Buffington” is a 47-year-old white male, about 5 feet 6 inches tall, 182 pounds with a bald head. He has scars on his abdomen and his upper left arm.
Wilson said she has no idea why Buffington decided to escape after being such a model prisoner for so long.
“He had no disciplinary issues. No record of that. He is a trusty and has that type of status. So we’re not sure what prompted him to do this,” she said. “No idea. But right now, we’re just focused on getting him back.”
Wilson explained that an inmate’s “trusty status” had little to do with an inmate’s crime that initially brought him to prison, and everything to do with his conduct while in prison.
“Trusty status is based upon behavior. Buffington has been a trusty since 2003. And up until Saturday evening, he’s had no behavioral problems. He would have finished his prison sentence in July 2018 so we don’t have any idea what prompted this. We have people here who commit less serious crimes who don’t attain trusty status because of their (poor) behavior in prison,” she explained.
Buffington’s last known address is 192 First St. in Booneville, Ark. Anyone with information on him is urged to call their local law enforcement agency immediately.
Wilson said law enforcement officers are searching in the Pine Bluff area and near Buffington’s home, but that the public at large should keep its eyes open and not approach Buffington if he’s seen.
“He should be considered armed and dangerous,” she said. “We are searching areas where he may have ties and we’re asking the public to help us. He’s out there somewhere and we’ll find him.”