Manhunt for escaped inmate last seen in West Texas - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

1/13/10

Manhunt for escaped inmate last seen in West Texas

By Katie Bauer  - bio | email

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - 26 year old Justin Welch has been on the run for nearly a day and Wednesday morning he was spotted in Amarillo at 6:30 at a truck stop.  By the time, authorities got there he was gone and he still remains at large.

On October 1st, Kimberly Smith was stabbed to death in her home in Wisconsin. In November, her son's father Darren Wold was arrested in his Lubbock home for allegedly hiring Welch to murder her.

Police believe the crime could have stemmed from Wold's bitter custody battle with Smith.

Welch was later arrested in San Diego, California, and another man was also arrested in connection to this crime.

Welch was being transported back to Wisconsin from California to face his murder charges. On Wednesday, the prisoner transport van stopped in Arkansas at a rest stop.

Welch then allegedly stabbed one of the guards with a tool and took off in the transport van with the guard's gun and cell phone, leaving the other prisoners and two guards behind.

Authorities believe Welch could be heading for Mexico.  Authorities also believe Welch is armed and very dangerous.

He was last seen wearing a green jumpsuit with a black jacket and driving a white van with Mississippi license plates.

If you have any information on Welch, you're urged to call local authorities.

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