Escaped Randolph County Inmate Turns Himself Into Missouri Authorities

NOVEMBER 18, 2004 -- Posted at: 5:45pm CST

RANDOLPH CO., AR - Sheriff Brent Earley pointed to the door where Arlis D. Greathouse made his escape. He had been outside for a daily exercise session.

"When they were coming back in, the jailer was in front of them and was going to go through and unlock their cell door to let them back into their cell, and he turned the other way and went through a kitchen door, which was open at the time, they were gathering food and stuff for the night meal, and he fled through it and jumped over the fence," Earley explained.

Arlis Greathouse climbed over three razor wire fences before he broke free. A tip took investigators to a home on Osterkamp Road near the community of Engelberg. That's where Arlis Greathouse's sister, Rebecca Jackson, lives with her husband and three children. She said her brother never showed up, but that if he had, she would have helped him.

Sheriff Earley added, "His brother-in-law was very cooperative with us. She was semi cooperative. Of course, she was aggravated, because she felt like we were framing her brother so to speak."

Jackson doesn't like the way the sheriff and his deputies handled the questioning session. She said officers were aggressive, and felt having weapons drawn near their children was extreme. Sheriff Earley said he did grab Jackson's arm, but did not use excessive force.

Arlis Greathouse turned himself into authorities in Piedmont, Missouri. That's where Jackson said their mother lives. Greathouse had been charged with aggravated robbery, meaning he's accused of committing robbery with a weapon. Another charge will be filed against him for escaping. It means another possible 5 years of prison time added onto any sentence he's given.

"He's used to actually being inside a prison. I guess he just got tired of it, but he saw his opportunity and took a hold of it, and you know some of it is probably because we were a little lax. I mean here were a little more relaxed, but you know that's something we're gonna have to change and get better at," said Earley.

Arlis Greathouse will likely wave extradition, and return to Arkansas to face charges against him. Sheriff Brent Earley said a vehicle was reported missing Thursday morning from a business not far from the jail. He isn't sure if that has any connection to this case.

As for preventing any other inmates from taking the same escape path, Sheriff Earley will put a chain link and razor wire roof over the small fenced in area outside the back door of the jail.