On this West Virginia Morning, the power of collaboration was evident at West Virginia International Yeager Airport this week as three organizations joined forces for a “dog-gone-good” cause. Caroline MacGregor reports.Continue Reading Take Me to More News
A convicted rapist who escaped from an Arkansas prison facility more than a year ago has been captured in West Virginia.
U.S. Marshals were joined by Arkansas State Police and several West Virginia law enforcement agencies Tuesday in arresting Samuel Hartman, 39, at the Quality Inn in Lewisburg.
Hartman, who was sentenced to life in 2013 for raping his 14-year-old stepdaughter, was arrested along with his wife, Misty Hartman, 39, his mother, Linda White, 61, and White’s boyfriend, Rodney Trent, 52.
All three helped Hartman escape from the East Arkansas Regional Unit prison facility’s work detail on Aug. 12, 2022. The two women fired several shots toward the work crew as Hartman ran to an awaiting pickup truck. The four then fled to an area near the Mississippi river where they escaped on two pre-staged jet skis.
Mark Waggamon, a deputy U.S. Marshal for the Southern District of West Virginia said Tuesday’s arrest involved the cooperation of multiple state agencies.
“We had deputy marshals from the northern district of West Virginia, we had our deputy marshals here in southern West Virginia,” Waggamon said. “We had deputies from the eastern district of Arkansas come, we had aid from the western district of Virginia and other agencies.”
Waggamon said the case started with the eastern district of Arkansas who developed information that Harman’s wife and mother were in West Virginia where Hartman’s mother has ties.
“We started our investigation and determined there was a very good possibility they are here based on records that we’ve done, interviews we’ve done and vehicles the suspect may be driving,” he said.
Waggamon said local agencies often request help from the U.S. Marshals with fugitive cases given their unlimited jurisdiction in territories that extend to places like Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
He said West Virginia has often served as a hideout for wanted fugitives.
“Believe it or not, West Virginia is a good place to hide. We’ve caught fugitives from Los Angeles, from Canada and other countries hiding here,” Waggamon said. “They think it’s a rural state, it’s off the beaten path, not a lot of people talk about this state, it’s a great place to hide, but luckily we have skilled deputy marshals and most of us are from West Virginia and very familiar with the state itself.”
Michael Baylous, U.S. Marshal for the Southern District of West Virginia credited the deliberate and determined law enforcement work of the U.S. Marshals Service, Arkansas State Police, and the Arkansas Department of Corrections and West Virginia law enforcement agencies with the arrests.
“The apprehension of these dangerous fugitives demonstrates the close and outstanding relationship that CUFFED (Cops United Felony Fugitive Enforcement Division Task Force enjoys with our local and state partners, other USMS Districts, and the USMS Domestic Investigations Branch,” Baylous said.