PINEVILLE, Mo. — Three inmates, including a murder case defendant, remained on the lam Monday, two days after overpowering an officer and using her keys to let themselves out of the McDonald County Jail.
Lt. Michael Hall of the McDonald County Sheriff’s Department reported late Monday afternoon that a couple of tips as to the whereabouts of the escapees had not panned out. Deputies’ checks of locations the inmates have been known to frequent also have been coming up empty, Hall said.
Murder case defendant Shun’tavion L. Thomas, 23, of Noel, and two men jailed on assault charges — Carmelo M. Burgos, 27, of Springfield, Illinois, and David Molina Sr., 49, of Southwest City — broke out of the jail Saturday by attacking a jailer and taking her keys.
Hall said deputies have found no evidence that the inmates had anybody in a vehicle waiting to pick them up. A law enforcement dog tracked them to an edge of Big Sugar Creek in Pineville before losing their trail.
Hall said inmates often split up after an escape, thinking it improves their individual chances of getting away.
“But that doesn’t mean a couple of them might not still be together, or even all three,” he said.
The sheriff’s office received an early tip that the three were spotted at a gas station outside of Pineville. But neither that sighting or another near Bella Vista, Arkansas, have resulted in the capture of any of the men.
Thomas waived a preliminary hearing in April on counts of second-degree murder and armed criminal action in the Nov. 22 shooting death of Jonathan Arrellanos, 23, at an apartment complex in Noel.
A woman who lives in the apartment told deputies that she was in a back bedroom when an argument between the two men started and two shots were fired. She emerged from the bedroom to see Thomas leaving the apartment and found Arrellanos lying dead on the kitchen floor. Her two children were in the apartment at the time.
Burgos, who has been jailed the longest of the three, is accused of assaulting another inmate, Ricky Couch, on July 4, 2020, by hitting him over the head with a wooden chair and pummeling him with his fists as both were visiting with family members by phone in a visitation area of the jail.
Molina was being held on an array of charges, the most serious of which concern an assault of an Anderson police officer on March 7. Molina purportedly fired a shotgun at Steve Hollis when the officer tried to stop a vehicle in which Molina was a passenger.
An initial discharging of the weapon struck the windshield of the officer’s patrol car, injuring Hollis. Molina got back in the vehicle before getting out and shooting at Hollis a second time, according to a probable-cause affidavit.
McDonald County deputies and Anderson police tracked him down to an address where they used tear gas to effect his arrest.