City of Meridian leaders credit teamwork in capture of escaped inmates

Bianca Moorman/The Meridian Star

Meridian Police Chief Benny Dubose, Mayor Percy Bland and MPD Sgt. Heather Luebbers speak about the arrests of two escaped inmates during a Thursday press conference. 

City of Meridian officials are crediting teamwork for the capture of two escaped inmates Wednesday morning.

“It was great work from our police team and the Lauderdale County Sheriff’s Department,” Meridian Mayor Percy Bland said during a press conference Thursday.

“We all work together, and this situation right here was a total team effort," Bland added.

The inmates, Jonathan Blankenship, 31, and Christopher Benson High, 28, escaped from the Central Mississippi Correctional Facility on Friday. They were found Wednesday in Meridian, where they were trying to hide out by blending in with the city's homeless population, authorities said.

Blankenship was serving five years for conspiracy and aggravated assault on a police officer in Alcorn County. High was serving 12 years for burglary in Carroll County.

Bland commended several officers for the arrests, including Sgt. Heather Luebbers, who spotted Blankenship after receiving a tip. 

Luebbers said once Blankenship was arrested, he told police where High was located, and the K-9 unit was called him to help find him.

“It was a lot of teamwork with help from the community and ourselves to locate the person,"  Luebbers said. "This the job we signed up for – to get people off the streets." 

MPD Chief Benny Dubose echoed Luebeers' comment.

"These guys and ladies were just taking care of their everyday duties," he said. "We don’t look at this as some great accomplishment." 

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