Search On for Pair of Killers in Missouri

October 24, 2003 - Posted at 8:09 a.m. CDT

JEFFERSON CITY, MO - The search continues for two convicted murderers who disappeared at the Missouri State Penitentiary in Jefferson City.  It began Wednesday night after another man convicted of murder was found dead in the prison's ice plant, where all three worked.  Cole County Sheriff John Hemeyers says a note left near the body threatened to kill anyone who gets in the way of the two missing inmates.

The men sought are 27-year-old Christopher Sims and 35-year-old Shannon Phillips.  Sims went to prison for a 1997 killing in St. Louis, Phillips for a 1995 murder in Kansas City.  They were assigned to work at the ice plant with 28-year-old Toby Viles, convicted of killing his sister and two brothers at their home near Lebanon in 1992.  Viles was found dead of blunt trauma wounds to his head and neck.

Prison officials say they have no hard evidence that the two prisoners escaped from the 47-acre penitentiary complex.  So they're concentrating their search inside the walls, although areas outside are also being checked.  Inmates have hid inside the prison in the past.  Several years ago it took officials a day-and-a-half to find a missing prisoner.

Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.