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U.S. Marshals: 2 'dangerous' escaped inmates in custody after a search in East TN

The U.S. Marshals Service said one of the inmates was from Rogersville and was awaiting trial on federal charges after he escaped from a Sullivan Co. jail last year.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The U.S. Marshals Service said it was searching in East Tennessee for two inmates who escaped from a jail in Southwest Virginia Thursday after finding a stolen vehicle in Hawkins County Friday morning.

By 5:50 p.m. Friday, they said both men were in custody.

They said they were apprehended by deputy U.S. Marshals and officers with the Smoky Mountain Fugitive Task Force a few miles from where they found the stolen vehicle.

Authorities said they ran out of gas and went on foot. They said the escaped inmates were found in a barn.

According to U.S. Marshals, the inmates escaped from the Southwest Virginia Jail Authority in Abington, Virginia on Jan. 26 around 2:45 p.m. 

Authorities said one of the inmates, 51-year-old Johnny Brown, is from Rogersville, Tennessee. He was awaiting trial on federal charges. The second inmate, 31-year-old Albert Ricketson, was convicted of two counts of second-degree murder in Washington County, Virginia.

The two were last seen wearing red jumpsuits and possibly white shirts.

Authorities said they were traveling in a stolen gold SUV that was found in Hawkins County, Tennessee Friday morning near the Bulls Gap area.

According to U.S. Marshals, Brown previously escaped from the Sullivan County Jail with two others in Feb. 2022 before he was later arrested in North Carolina. At the time, Brown was being held for several charges, including domestic assault.

Authorities said both men have a history of violence and should be considered dangerous, but don't know if they are armed. Several law enforcement agencies from both states, including the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, are assisting in the search.

Anyone with information about the men or their whereabouts should call 911 or 1-800-TBI-FIND.

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