A convicted killer who walked away from a prison farm in eastern North Carolina over the weekend was captured Thursday not far from the facility, according to state prison officials.
James Ladd, 51, was captured around 11 a.m. by corrections officers and Alcohol Law Enforcement agents, said Keith Acree, a spokesman for the N.C. Department of Public Safety. He was found in Halifax County, about 10 miles away from the prison farm.
Authorities had been searching for Ladd since prison staff discovered Sunday morning that he had abandoned the tractor he was working on in a field near the Tillery Correctional Center. The minimum security prison is located in a rural area about an hour east of Raleigh.
Public safety officials have said it was unclear how long Ladd had been missing before prison staff noticed the tractor around 10 a.m. Sunday.
Ladd has been serving three life terms in connection with a 1980 robbery and fatal shootings of two men on a Yadkin County farm. He was denied parole in January 2011, and his next review was scheduled for 2014, public safety officials said.
Prior to Sunday’s escape, records show Ladd had been a reasonably well-behaved inmate, with no infractions listed for violent behavior while in prison. Still, officials had warned anyone who came into contact with Ladd to steer clear and call 911.
ABCNews.com reported earlier this week that it had interviewed Ladd’s mother, who reportedly said her son was “smart enough” to evade capture. But Lena Ladd said she hadn’t been in contact with her son, the news site reported Tuesday.
“No, I haven’t heard from him. I don’t know where he is," Lena Ladd said, according to ABCNews.com.
On Thursday, authorities said they received a tip from a motorist who saw a man running from the woods toward a home along N.C. 125 near Scotland Neck.
Authorities rushed to the home and began searching the property. They found Ladd crouched down in an open garage attached to the home, officials said.
He was taken into custody without incident. Ladd now faces charges of escaping from prison, as well as internal prison disciplinary charges, authorities said.
Staff writer Meghan Cooke and the Associated Press contributed