The search for an inmate whom authorities say walked away from a work detail in the Fort Morris area has expanded well beyond Liberty County.
And Liberty County Sheriff Steve Sikes said the sheriff’s office is scaling back its search for Chaney Tyler Hankins, 23, based on information that he has left the county.
“We are 99 percent sure he is no longer in Liberty County,” Sikes said.
Stewart Cottingham, a supervisory inspector for the U.S. Marshals Service’s Southeast Regional Fugitive Task Force, said the agency has expanded its search for Hankins throughout 43 counties in southeast Georgia.
Cottingham said he expects the search to be a long-term endeavor.
Hankins was last seen on Fort Morris Road in Sunbury. He was wearing white pants with a blue stripe, an orange shirt and black boots. He is described as white, 5 feet 11 inches, 175 pounds, with brown hair and hazel eyes.
Hankins is a state inmate at the Effingham County jail, Sikes said.
Sheriff’s Maj. Jeffrey Hein said Hankins walked away from the work detail at Fort Morris Historic Site around 2:15 p.m. Monday.
Hein added that he understood there were five to seven inmates, including Hankins, on the work detail, accompanied by one corrections officer.
Pete Morris, an investigator with the Department of Corrections, said the Effingham County jail is a low- to minimum-security prison.
Morris said Hankins was convicted of aggravated assault and theft by taking for an offense in Bartow County in November and sentenced to 10 years in prison. Other charges listed on his escape-information sheet include obstruction of law enforcement, possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine and possession of marijuana.
Anyone seeing him is asked to call 911 immediately.