An intense manhunt continued more than 18 hours after a pair of convicts escaped from the Putnam County Jail on Wednesday.
The search for the two men who escaped from the jail before dawn expanded to Jacksonville and other areas of Florida. Putnam authorities said they believe the pair is also connected to a suspicious death in West Palatka.
"I want them. These guys have to be caught," said Putnam County Sheriff Jeff Hardy.
The Putnam County Sheriff's Office said Doni Ray Brown, 23, and Timothy Fletcher, 25, broke out of the jail at about 4 a.m. A short time later, a red and white 1992 Ford crew-cab pickup with a blue bed was stolen from behind a fenced gate of a tire store at 330 Highway 17 north in Palatka -- about one mile from the jail.
About 7 a.m. Wednesday, an off-duty law enforcement officer reported seeing two men on Jacksonville's Westside in a different vehicle -- a 1999 gold four-door Lincoln with a tan vinyl top. The vehicle, with Florida tag H288TV was seen on Interstate 10 near Chaffee Road.
When the off-duty officer ran the car's tag, he learned it was connected to Helen Googe and he called Putnam County officials. The call prompted investigators to respond to Googe's home, where they found the 66-year-old woman dead.
- LINK: Putnam County Flyer On Escaped Prisoners
According to the sheriff's office, Googe was a relative of Fletcher.
Officials are investigating Googe's death as being suspicious and told Channel 4 they are certain the death is connected to the escapees.
"We've got CSI investigators here from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and we're investigating all aspects of the suspicious death," Hardy said.
Channel 4's Laura Mazzeo was told Brown, of Satsuma, and Fletcher, of Welaka, were co-defendants charged with an armed robbery in 2008. They were housed in the same cell.
Authorities described the method of escape as "creative," but said the details of the escape were part of the investigation.
Deputies said there were ground, aerial and K-9 searches under way in the area, but they also notified sheriff's offices in surrounding counties to be on the lookout for the two men.
Brown is described as 6 feet 1 inch tall and weighing 200 pounds. He has brown hair and hazel eyes.
Fletcher is 6 feet tall and weighs 204 pounds. He has brown hair and brown eyes. He has several tattoos, including a sleeved left arm and "Tank" on his right fingers.
Authorities said both are convicted felons and have violent criminal histories. Fletcher has an extensive rap sheet. He has been jailed in Putnam County three times, and was most recently locked up on 13 separate crimes -- most of them grand theft of a motor vehicle.
Brown's criminal history in the county is not as extensive. He was serving time for robbery with a firearm.
The sheriff said the both men are considered violent and extremely dangerous.
Anyone who sees the inmates or a vehicle matching the description of the one stolen is asked to call the Putnam County Sheriff's Office at 386-329-0800 or Crime Stoppers at 888-277-TIPS.