Escapee's half-brother speaks while police search continues

PINE BLUFF (KATV) - Two days after a murderer escaped from the state prison's Pine Bluff Unit, authorities are still trying to track him down. Police say Timothy Buffington, 47, made his escape Saturday night, and a manhunt has been underway ever since.

The newest update available is that a shot was fired this morning in the Princeton Pike area, and police believe it could have come from Buffington.

Horseback and K-9 Units, along with dozens of Arkansas Department of Correction officers and assisting agencies are searching for Buffington.

"We are still concentrating on this area because if he was on foot, which we believe him to be, then certainly he could have made it across this wooded area in the course of two days," said Shea Wilson, ADC Spokeswoman.

Searching the wooded area off of Claud Road, where an officer heard one shot fired, people leaving in the area also heard it.

"He did not take any type of weapon from an officer, right now we don't even know if he has a weapon, we believe him to have a weapon so we're treating him as though he is armed and dangerous," added Wilson.

Still, no sign of Buffington since Saturday night, when he made a brazen escape while working on the prison's grounds. Buffington has been a trusty since 2003, after earning the prison's trust to work with less supervision. Buffington became an inmate in 1999, when he was convicted of the deadly shooting of his ex-wife, Rhonda Combs. He was sentenced to 20 years and was set to be released in July 2018.

"This happening has been somewhat of a surprise because he had not demonstrated any of that type of behavior while he was incarcerated," said Wilson.

Buffington's half-brother, Henry Combs, also spoke only to Channel 7.

He says he believes that Buffington is carrying a weapon for his own protection, and not to harm anyone. He also added that he is working with authorities and will turn Buffington in if he makes contact with him; however, he said that he hasn't seen Buffington or spoken to him in three years.

If you see Buffington, you're urged to keep away and dial 911.