updated 11/15/2005 12:04:23 AM ET 2005-11-15T05:04:23

Two convicted murderers escaped from Iowa’s only maximum-security prison Monday night, officials said.

The men were last seen around 7 p.m. at the Iowa State Penitentiary in Fort Madison. Officials were investigating how the men escaped and where they may have fled, said Ron Welder, the prison’s executive officer.

Martin S. Moon, 34, had been serving a life sentence since 1995 for a murder in Clark County. Robert J. Legendre, 27, was convicted of kidnapping and murder in Nevada and was transferred to Iowa last year.

Welder said authorities in Iowa, Illinois and Missouri had been alerted and more than 30 officers and canines were combing the area.

The prison houses repeat and violent male offenders. It can hold up to 550 inmates.

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