Social media fanned flames of false story
A false alarm that two fugitives from Putnam County were seen in Grady County spread like wildfire on social media last week after someone claimed they had seen them in the northern part of the county.
A caller reported seeing a man resembling one of the escapees driving a white pickup truck on Highway 112 the evening of Wednesday June 14, some 36 hours after the wanted men had shot and killed two corrections officers and escaped custody with the officers’ handguns. Scanner listeners in this area heard a 911 dispatcher announce the potential sighting to law enforcement officers in the form of a “be on the lookout” or BOLO. Grady County Sheriff Harry Young said, “It just got blown out of proportion, is what it was.”
Steve Clark, chief investigator for the Grady County Sheriff’s Office, tried to quell the rumor mill with a post on his personal Facebook page at 7:52 p.m. stating, “To all Grady County residents. There is no confirmed belief that the two escape inmates are in this area. There is an entirely sperate (sic) incident around the 112 area. Noone (sic) is barricaded in a house and noone (sic) is chasing them. 112 is not shut down.”
Eventually, a trooper with the Georgia State Patrol located the truck and potential suspects, and conducted a traffic stop with backup from the Grady County Sheriff’s Office. “My guys went out just to back them up. It was just a traffic stop,” said Sheriff Young this week.
The trooper determined the people in the truck were not the fugitives and the lookout was cancelled (sic). Capt. Clark announced that on his Facebook page at 8:55 p.m. June 14, writing, “Bolo has been cancelled (sic). Contact with vehicle and it is not the suspects.”
Approximately 24 hours later, the fugitives, Donnie R. Rowe and Ricky Dubose, were captured in Tennessee.