Image: Inmates of Daviess/DeKalb County jail in Pattonsburg, Mo.
Daviess County Sheriff / AP
From left to right, Carlos Sarmiento, Timothy J. Baudour and Nicholas D. McCleary.
updated 10/25/2010 8:26:15 PM ET 2010-10-26T00:26:15

Three inmates, including a convicted murderer, escaped from a northwest Missouri jail by crawling under a fence, leading authorities to lock down the surrounding community's school and to go door-to-door warning residents.

The inmates remained at large Monday after making their break Sunday night from the Daviess/DeKalb County jail in Pattonsburg wearing orange prison jumpsuits and no shoes, authorities said. Daviess County Sheriff Ben Becerra said Monday afternoon that they were thought to have split up and left the area.

In Pattonsburg, a city of 260 residents 75 miles north of Kansas City, the lone school was locked down Monday and members of the fire department were sent door-to-door to tell residents to be vigilant.

"I don't normally lock my doors, but I am now. I'm sure everybody is." said Karen Shepherd, the city clerk.

The school, which serves 170 students from kindergarten through high school, locked its doors Monday, canceled recess and was only allowing students outside if accompanied by an adult.

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The men were among 19 inmates being watched by three guards in the jail's recreation yard at dusk Sunday when they slipped under a fence, authorities said. Clips that secure the wire fence to a pipe along the ground had been cut, apparently by wirecutters that had been purchased in a neighboring town and were found outside the fence.

Three women were being questioned Monday about any involvement in the breakout.

The Daviess County Sheriff's Department issued a news release about the escape that provided few details about how the men managed to evade detection while slipping under the fence. A person who answered the phone at the sheriff's office on Monday said the sheriff was out on the investigation and unavailable for comment.

Among the escaped convicts was 57-year-old Carlos Sarmiento, who was awaiting sentencing after being convicted of first-degree murder and armed criminal action in the death of his roommate, Lance L. Davis. Prosecutors say Sarmiento beat Davis to death with a 16-ounce claw hammer. His body was found at the men's home in Jamesport in February 2009.

Daviess County prosecutor Annie Gibson said a motive for the attack was never clear. She said Sarmiento first admitted to the crime, then said he didn't do it. A jury found him guilty Sept. 15.

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The other escaped convicts were 26-year-old Nicholas D. McCleary and 34-year-old Timothy J. Baudour. McCleary, of Rayville, Mo., was first convicted of property damage, then a previous jail escape. Baudour, of Mexico, Mo., was convicted of assault.

Sarmiento is described as Hispanic, 5-feet-9 inches, 140 pounds with brown hair. He has a tattoo with Spanish words on his right arm and a woman's head with a sombrero tattooed on his left arm.

McCleary is white, 5-foot-7, 184 pounds with blonde hair, He has a tattoo of a swastika and skull on his chest, a teardrop tattoo under his right eye, two lightning-bolts under his left eye, and a Maltese cross on his left hand.

Baudour is white, 6-feet-3, 200 pounds, with brown hair and tattoos on his stomach, chest and right arm. He has a tattoo of a Midwest hustler on his stomach, the word "Mexico" on his upper chest, and "Tigger" on his right arm.

Jane Dunn, an attorney who handled Sarmiento's murder case, did not immediately respond to a phone message Monday seeking comment.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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