Fugitive's Insane Escape Tale Takes a Tragic Turn

During manhunt for Travis Lee Davis, a man mistaken for him is killed
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 18, 2019 10:55 AM CDT

(Newser) – This much is clear: Travis Lee Davis should be in jail, but he's not, thanks to two hard-to-explain escapes by the 30-year-old. Davis, last seen in Oklahoma, remains on the lam, while a man who resembled him was killed in a confrontation with police. And all that doesn't even take into account the supposed kidnapping of a woman who may or may not be Davis' girlfriend. Here are the details:

  • First escape: Davis broke out of the Pettis County Jail in Sedalia, Mo., on the night of Saturday, March 9. Authorities say he climbed into the ceiling, made his way across the rafters and down into a "maintenance access closet," then simply walked out of the jail. His absence wasn't noticed until the following night, reports the Washington Post.
  • Second escape: This one was even more remarkable. Police arrested him in Oklahoma on Wednesday and placed him in a patrol car, handcuffed. As officers were interviewing someone else, Davis drove away in the police car. "He somehow got the cuffs to the front of him and somehow managed to get through the window in the partition," Heavener Police Chief Ty Armstrong tells the Sedalia Democrat. "He went through the window, stole the car, and went approximately 2 miles and crashed, then fled on foot." Davis remains at large, and police say it's possible he hopped on a train.

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  • A death: On Wednesday, police in Sallisaw, Okla., received a report of a man who resembled Davis walking by the side of a road. It was 27-year-old Shawn Watie, who was walking to work, reports KFSM. Officers say Watie threatened them with a knife, at which point they fatally shot him. Watie's family disputes that account, saying he wasn't combative.
  • A kidnapping? The account of how Davis was arrested in Oklahoma is strange. Police got a call from a woman who says Davis kidnapped her and forced her to drive. She says he was asleep when they stopped for gas at a travel plaza, and she then called police and pointed him out to responding officers. But police now say the woman is a suspect herself. "There were numerous phone calls between he and her when he was in the county jail there (Missouri) and she had been driving him through southern Missouri since his escape and hiding him out," LeFlore County Sheriff Rob Seale tells 4029tv. Both were seen playing slot machines at the travel plaza, and Davis apparently returned to the car to sleep. That's when the woman apparently called police.
  • The charges: Police consider Davis dangerous because he was in jail on charges of kidnapping, domestic assault, endangering the welfare of a child, and resisting arrest. Those charges came after a standoff with police during which officers say he threatened to kill his pregnant girlfriend, reports KRCG. It's not clear if this is the same woman who'd been driving him around after his escape.
(Read more escaped criminal stories.)

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