UPDATE: Manhunt continues for escaped murderer

The search continues for an escaped murderer in the Pine Bluff area.

Timothy Buffington, a trusty inmate assigned to the Pine Bluff Unit, left his work assignment Saturday evening. During his escape, police say he reportedly held a woman hostage in the Princeton Pike area of Pine Bluff. She was able to get away unharmed. Subsequently the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office believes Buffington to be armed with a shotgun and back pack filled with ammunition.

Buffington is a 47-year-old white male, stands 5 feet 6 inches tall, and weighs 182 pounds. He has scars on his upper left arm and his right wrist and was last seen wearing his all-white prison-issued jump suit.Buffington was convicted in 1999 of first degree murder in the death of his ex-wife, Rhonda Combs. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison and was set to be released in July 2018.The Arkansas Department of Corrections has called in numerous agencies from across the state to assist in the search for Buffington. The ground search of the immediate area surrounding the Arkansas Department of Corrections Pine Bluff Unit has so far been unsuccessful, with crews looking in heavily forested areas. Shea Wilson, ADC spokesperson, said contact made with those believed to be in contact with Buffington have turned up no leads.Wilson mentions why or how Buffington escaped the Pine Bluff Unit is unknown and right now their efforts are more focused on getting the suspect back into custody; an internal investigation into the escape will follow. The search is in 24-hour mode with Wilson saying search efforts will not stop until Buffington is under arrest.

Since Buffington is considered armed and dangerous, authorities are urging Pine Bluff area residents to be on high-alert, not letting strangers into their homes and calling local authorities immediately if they spot Buffington.