Escaped inmate last seen at the Missouri State Fairgrounds


Shannon Dewayne Watts

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SEDALIA, Mo. – An alert from State Fair Community College says that an inmate escaped from the Tipton Correctional Facility.  The Missouri Department of Corrections says that Shannon Dewayne Watts, 34,  was on work release at the Missouri State Fairgrounds in Sedalia.  They say he walked away at around 12:45am Monday.

Sunday was the final day of the  Missouri State Fair.  Teams of minimum-security work-release offenders perform maintenance at the fairgrounds all year.  Larger teams of prisoners are asked to help during the state fair.  They assist with setup, cleanup, grounds-keeping, and other duties.

Police did not find Watts during a search of the area that concluded around 6:15 am.  The community college is asking students and employees to be alert, lock their vehicles, and secure their possessions.  He was last seen wearing a white t-shirt and gray pants. He is described as 6′ tall with brown eyes and glasses.

Watts is serving a sentence for burglary, forgery, possession of a controlled substance, resisting arrest, tampering with a motor vehicle, possession of a firearm, and leaving the scene of an accident in Greene County, as well as two counts of resisting arrest in Tane County. He has been serving his sentence since July 2015. He was previously incarcerated from 2012, to 2014.

There are over 1,200 prisoners at the Tipton Correctional Center. It is a minimum custody correctional facility. Inmates are housed in open bay dormitories are selected to work various jobs on institutional grounds providing services like janitorial maintenance, kitchen work, laundry services, and groundskeeping.

Authorities are asking people to call 911 immediately if they see him.  Do not engage with the escaped prisoner in any way.

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