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Hunt For Texas Fugitives Turns To Stolen Vehicle

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A manhunt is underway for Hopkins County Jail escapees John Marlin King (L) and Brian Allen Tucker (R). (credit: Hopkins Co. Sheriff's Dept.)

A manhunt is underway for Hopkins County Jail escapees John Marlin King (L) and Brian Allen Tucker (R). (credit: Hopkins Co. Sheriff’s Dept.)

SULPHUR SPRINGS, Texas (CBSDFW.COM/AP) — The hunt for a capital murder suspect and a convicted drug offender who escaped from an East Texas jail has turned to a missing crossover SUV.

The Hopkins County Sheriff’s Office says Brian Allen Tucker and John Marlin King remain at large.

Sgt. Brad Cummings says searchers are now seeking a black 2010 Saturn Vue reported stolen in Sulphur Springs Wednesday afternoon. The vehicle had Texas plates with the number CR6D425. Inside was a nickel-plated .22-caliber Derringer pistol.

Area law enforcement agencies have increased their manpower on the road, responding to all possible sightings of the stolen SUV.

Cummings says, officers are also using additional caution now that they believe the suspects may be armed.

The inmates fled the jail in Sulphur SpringsTuesday morning. Sulphur Springs is about 75 miles northeast of Dallas.

Tucker is awaiting trial, set for this June, on a capital murder charge. Cummings says he has short hair and “drop dead” tattooed on the back of his head.

Brian Tucker's "Drop Dead" tattoo (credit: Hopkins County Sheriff)

Brian Tucker’s “Drop Dead” tattoo (credit: Hopkins County Sheriff)

King pleaded guilty last month to drug possession.

City schools and six rural schools spent another day on lockdown, as some parents questioned whether to send their children to school at all.

Tracy Belcher says she finally sent her kids to school because of STAAR testing, but their father planned to bring them home early as long as the fugitives remained on the loose.

“Anything could happen,” said Belcher. “They don’t know where they are. It’s scary.”

The Hopkins County Sheriff’s Department says schools will remain on lockdown for the rest of the investigation.

Meanwhile, at Metro Diner, Kay Conger says the mood among customers has shifted from total chaos and worry.

“Today, everybody’s a lot calmer, I think everybody thinks they’re off 100 miles away by now,” said Conger. “Everybody felt that police on horseback and dogs yesterday would have got them if they were there.”

Conger is convinced someone on the outside helped the men get away. Both fugitives have local ties, and deputies caution that anyone helping them could be criminally prosecuted as well.

There’s currently a five thousand dollar reward through the Lake Country Crime Stoppers for information that leads to their arrests.

(©2013 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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