The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation released several images of Curtis Ray Watson, 44, Thursday, fearing that the escaped inmate may have altered his image since breaking out from the West Tennessee State Penitentiary the previous day.
The prison officials found Debra Johnson dead inside her home on prison grounds after which the prison was on lockdown, and an official inmate count was conducted.
CNN reports Watson worked on a farm detail and may have escaped on a tractor that was recovered near the prison facility.
The victim was identified as 64-year-old Debrah Johnson, a 38-year TDOC employee.
Watson is described by the authorities as 5 feet 11 inches tall and about 140 pounds. Rausch said Watson escaped the West Tennessee State Penitentiary on Wednesday on a tractor.
"Everything about Debra exemplified professionalism and her care for both the people she worked for, worked with, and the inmates that she served on a daily basis..." said Tony Parker, Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Correction.
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The facility was placed on lock down after Johnson's body was found, and authorities soon realized Watson was missing, police said.
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has issued a statewide Tennessee Blue Alert for Curtis Ray Watson. In Tennessee, only three Blue Alerts have been issued since the program began in 2011, according to the Tennessean newspaper. It tweeted pictures of his tattoos and his face, and additional mug shots in case he changed the appearance of his facial hair after his escape. Officials are working to obtain warrants on Watson.
"Today we lost a very beloved and respected member of our TDOC family", the Tennessee Department of Corrections said in a statement.
Watson was serving a 15-year sentence for especially aggravated kidnapping.
Governor Bill Lee spoke at a press conference on Thursday, stating that Watson should be considered extremely unsafe. Residents been asked to check trail cameras and any video surveillance for possible sightings and to check on neighbors. He was previously convicted of aggravated child abuse in Carroll County, and was released in 2011.
During a news conference Thursday afternoon, the TBI announced that the reward for information leading to Watson's arrest has increased to a total of $52,500. If you see him, call 911 or 1-800-TBI-FIND.