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Manhunt Underway for Escaped Mississippi Murder Suspect Rafael McCloud

by Erik Ortiz /
Rafael McCloud, 33, center, is escorted to a holding cell by Vicksburg, Miss., police investigators at the Vicksburg Police Department after his initial court appearance in the abduction and death of Sharon Wilson, 69, on July 1, 2015.AP

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A manhunt was underway Wednesday morning in Mississippi for a capital murder suspect who briefly took a jailer hostage before bolting from the facility, authorities said.

Close to 30 officers and K9 units are involved in the search for 34-year-old Rafael McCloud since he managed to bust out from the Warren County Jail at around 5:30 a.m. local time, Vicksburg Police Chief Walter Armstrong told The Associated Press.

 Rafael McCloud, 33, center, is escorted to a holding cell by Vicksburg, Miss., police investigators at the Vicksburg Police Department after his initial court appearance in the abduction and death of Sharon Wilson, 69, on July 1, 2015. AP

McCloud, who is considered armed and dangerous, used a makeshift weapon to threaten the jailer and force him to turn over his pants and a jacket, reported NBC affiliate WLBT in Jackson.

Warren County Sheriff Martin Pace said McCloud also grabbed the jailer's radio and keys, which were recovered from the scene.

McCloud is accused in the kidnapping and slaying of 69-year-old Sharon Wilson, who police say was badly beaten and raped before her death last June. Her body was dumped in an abandoned hospital and was later found by ghost hunters who told police they noticed a trail of blood, WLBT reported.

McCloud also faces charges of sexual battery, rape, arson, home invasion, being a felon in possession of a firearm and grand larceny auto theft, records show.

Several schools in Warren County were on lockdown Wednesday while police pursued McCloud.

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