Search presses on for 2 escaped federal prisoners

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Federal agents scouring for a second day for two jail escapees — one a suspect in a possibly multimillion-dollar summer heist — expressed confidence Tuesday the fugitives still were hiding out around St. Louis, some 60 miles from the lockup that couldn’t hold them.

John Wesley Jones, 36, and Corey Durand Cross, 31, are both from St. Louis. But Robert O’Connor, a spokesman for the U.S. Marshals Service, declined to detail why he believed they still were in the area, a day after they bolted from the Lincoln County Jail after making their way onto the lockup’s roof and down a 30-foot wall.

Investigators suspect the two men got to St. Louis using a truck stolen from a gas station 7 miles from the jail and found abandoned Monday along eastbound Interstate 70 near the city, O’Connor said. Bloodhounds led searchers from the truck to a home in nearby Pine Lawn, but the fugitives were nowhere to be found.

“With the information we have, we believe they’re still likely in the St. Louis metropolitan area. I can’t get into why we think that,” O’Connor said Tuesday during the manhunt that included help from the FBI and St. Louis police.

Authorities have publicly warned that the escapees could be armed and dangerous, given the men’s backgrounds. At the time of their jailbreak, both were being held on federal charges in separate weapons-related cases. Cross also was awaiting a trial scheduled next month on felony counts of illegally having an SKS assault-style rifle during suspected drug-trafficking and possessing heroin with plans to deal it.

Jones and Cross also each had been ordered jailed without bond pending trial, at the behest of federal prosecutors who claimed in court papers that both men were serious flight risks and threats to the community if allowed out on bail.

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