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Manhunt continues for Tennessee inmates who escaped prison, kidnapped man

Robert Brown and Christopher Osteen should both be considered armed and dangerous, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said.

A manhunt for two Tennessee inmates who escaped from prison, kidnapped a Kentucky highway department employee and stole at least two vehicles continued Sunday morning.

Robert Brown and Christopher Osteen escaped Friday morning from the Northwest Correctional Complex in Lake County, Tennessee, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said Friday.

Brown, 36, is serving an 18-year sentence for aggravated rape and Osteen, 34, is serving an eight-year sentence for burglary, authorities said. The escaped inmates should both be considered armed and dangerous, the state police agency said.

Christopher Osteen, left, and Robert Brown escaped from prison in Tennessee on Dec. 11, 2020.Tennessee Bureau of Investigation via AP

After their escape from the minimum security prison on Friday, an employee of the highway department in Fulton County, Kentucky, was kidnapped from a boat ramp on the Mississippi River at approximately 9:15 a.m. local time (10:15 a.m. ET), the sheriff's office in Henry County, Tennessee reported on its Facebook page.

The employee, who was blindfolded, and his department truck were later found in Henry County, the sheriff's office said.

Early on Saturday, at about 2:30 am local time, authorities found a Henry County resident who had been tied up in his home by the escapees — at approximately 10:30 am the previous day.

While he is now safe, the sheriff's office said inmates stole the resident's red 2009 Chevrolet Silverado extended cab pickup truck.

As that truck has not yet been found, the authorities asked residents in the area who have cameras to check for the truck, and to, “Be alert, be cautious.”

The Kentucky State Police are continuing their search and advised residents in the far western part of the state to “to check on their friends and relatives” and report any suspicious activity after the inmates committed burglaries and thefts in the area.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.