Escaped inmate back in custody following weeks-long search

Updated: Nov. 4, 2019 at 5:08 AM CST
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JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - A man being sought in connection with an escape from transport to a mental health facility after his arrest on suspicion of assaulting a Lawrence County deputy in October is now behind bars, according to Lawrence County Sheriff Jeff Yates.

Spencer Langston was arrested Saturday in Texas County, Missouri, Yates said.

Langston was arrested by the Texas County Sheriff’s Department without incident and is being held in the Texas County Detention Center, awaiting extradition back to Arkansas.

Authorities had been looking for Langston since Oct. 14, officials said in a media release.

Jonesboro Police stated that Langston, who was in Jonesboro at a mental health facility, escaped during transport and not actually from the facility itself.

At the time, Sally Smith, public information specialist for the Jonesboro Police Department, said Langston, 28, walked away from St. Bernards Behavioral Health and had been last seen asking residents for money in the Eldridge Street just off East Johnson Avenue, near the A-State campus.

Smith said there had not been any other sightings at that time.

Region 8 News is working to learn which law enforcement agency was responsible for Langston’s transport, and why he was placed in St. Bernards and not the Crisis Stabilization Unit.

Lawrence County Sheriff Jeff Yates says his agency has nothing to do with the placement decision.

“They’re (Crisis Stabilization Unit) more or less for keeping people and putting them back on their medication and getting them put back into the public before they get in trouble, but he was already in trouble. So I don’t have anything to do with placing him,” says Yates.

JPD posted on their Facebook page at 1:15 p.m. Wednesday, that Langston escaped during transport and not from the St. Bernards Behavioral Health building.

Local Law Enforcement Officers are currently searching for a person who ran away while being transported by a private...

Posted by Jonesboro Police Department on Wednesday, October 16, 2019

St. Bernards released the following statement;

At St. Bernards, patient safety is our primary concern. It has been incorrectly reported that a patient eloped from the St. Bernards Behavioral Health Facility on October 15. This is not correct as no such event occurred at our facility. The HIPAA laws prevent St. Bernards from offering further information about this individual.

Langston was arrested on suspicion of first-degree battery earlier this month after he assaulted a Lawrence County deputy during an arrest on Highway 361 in the Black Rock area.

According to the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office, Langston was considered a “violent offender” with a lengthy history of crimes.

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