Manhunt ends for escaped inmate in Ozark County

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Ozark County Sheriff’s Office

GAINESVILLE, Mo. — Authorities have tracked down an inmate who escaped for work release early this week.

Jason Laird, 44, from Gainsville, Mo., escaped while on a Department of Corrections work-release at the Missouri State Fairgrounds, June 22, 2021.

Laird was found in a wooded area Saturday near Brixey, Missouri, and his arrest ended a four-day manhunt.

The Ozark County Sheriff’s Department received a tip Friday night that led to the stolen vehicle and two arrests. Investigators searched multiple locations Saturday morning, then found a Chevy truck believed to be stolen by Laird when he escaped custody. Authorities searched a home in Ozark County which lead to the arrest of two women.

The Ozark County/Douglas County Multijurisdictional Task Force, Oregon County Sheriff’s Department, and a Howell County SWAT Team all assisted with the search for Laird.

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