Manhunt Called Off After Two Days - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

08/08/07 - Polk County

Manhunt Called Off After Two Days

by Ramonica R. Jones

Horses, dogs, helicopters and authorities from eight different agencies are looking for Kenneth Ray Smith. He and two women were riding in a van near Leggett Wednesday when a trooper stopped them for speeding.

Polk County Chief Deputy Byron Lyons said, "Those two persons that were riding in the car with our suspect were family members that were released by the trooper who made the stop."

Smith gave the trooper a fake name - but his real social security number - before taking off into the woods on FM 116. Authorities called nearby residents and businesses warning them a wanted man was on the loose in their community.

"Normally, we have one security guard, but since this happened we have two people securing the perimeter," Archie Jackson, production supervisor at Spectrum Brands, said. "We got the company cell phone in case they see something, they can have a phone on them at all times and it's constantly helicopters and law officers patrolling this area."

Smith has multiple warrants out of his home state of Louisiana and the Marshall, Texas area. Authorities said he's committed several violent crimes, from attempted murder to sexual assault to burglary.

"He was wearing black shorts [when he ran off]," Lyons said. "In the beginning, he had a white T-shirt on. At the last sighting, he didn't have any shirt on, but he has distinctive tattoos up and down both arms."

Smith is 47 years old and weighs 235 pounds. If you see him, call authorities and do not approach him.

Some Polk County residents are unhappy with the way authorities are handling the fugitive search. They said they were told about the manhunt several hours after it had gotten started.

One New Willard resident said she got a public service announcement by phone from authorities early Thursday morning informing her of the situation, but didn't find out how serious the search was until it was well underway.

Phyllis Glasgow said, "I don't know why they didn't warn us citizens early [Tuesday]. They went back and forth waving at us, never stopped and said a word. This was going on since [Tuesday] morning.  

Other neighbors who live nearby said they are not overly-concerned for their safety, but are keeping all the doors to their homes locked until the suspect is caught.

Kenneth Ray Smith is considered dangerous and should not be approached. If you spot Smith or know where he is, contact the Polk County Sheriff's Office at (936) 327-6810 or Polk County Crime Stoppers (936) 327-STOP.

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