LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — A convicted murderer who escaped from an Arkansas prison this week was found Thursday hiding in a cave about 85 miles away.
Authorities wouldn't say exactly how Curtis Reese Jr., 33, made it to the cave near Pangburn from the Tucker Unit where he escaped on Monday, but he is believed to have had help.
"He obviously didn't walk," said supervisory deputy U.S. Marshal Kevin Sanders.
The U.S. Marshals Service, state police and correction officials tracked Reese down after he and another inmate managed to escape from prison in an empty water tanker.
Authorities captured the other inmate, 40-year-old James B. Ryan, shortly after the pair jumped off the truck outside the prison, but Reese's disappearance sparked a manhunt that stretched several days.
That search ended Thursday morning when dozens of officers showed up in a patch of rural Cleburne County where Reese was believed to be hiding.
Sanders said investigators had a good idea of where Reese was on Wednesday night but decided to wait until morning to make their move.
"It being night and him being in a cave, it wasn't very safe to try to go out and get him at that time," Sanders said.
On Thursday morning, authorities found fresh cigarette butts and a long piece of rope that Reese used to lower himself down to the cave near a ravine. Inside the cave, they found Reese, who looked as if he had been there for a couple of days.
"We're not 100 percent sure on exactly how long he's been there, but it's been a while based on his appearance," Sanders said.
Reese wasn't combative with the officers when they arrested him.
"He was just completely defeated," Sanders said.
Reese didn't appear to have been injured, unlike Ryan, the other inmate who escaped from the prison about 40 miles southeast of Little Rock.
Both Reese and Ryan worked together at the prison refurbishing the truck that allowed them to get away, Arkansas Department of Correction spokeswoman Shea Wilson said.
Wilson said Thursday that it was too soon to say whether their escape will provoke any policy changes.
"We will be obviously reviewing how it happened and making sure that it doesn't happen again," she said.
Reese was convicted of two counts of first-degree murder in the 1997 deaths of Eric Ogden and Lance Kelloms, according to Saline County court records. He was sentenced to two concurrent 40-year prison terms.
Ryan, meanwhile, was serving a 30-year prison sentence for first-degree murder in Pulaski County, according to prison records. Ryan was also convicted of drug charges, a weapons charge and other offenses.
This is not the first time convicted killers have escaped from an Arkansas prison.
Two men who were sentenced to life in prison without parole for capital murder escaped from the Cummins Unit in 2009 by wearing guard uniforms. They fled to New York before they were captured.
Four other inmates who have escaped from Arkansas prisons over the years are still at large.
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Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.