Helicopters, hounds search for convicted killer

AP News
Posted: Sep 24, 2012 4:19 PM

TILLERY, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina authorities are using a helicopter and bloodhounds to search for a convicted killer who walked away from a state prison farm nearly two hours before staffers realized he was gone.

James J. Ladd was first noticed missing around noon Sunday, after the tractor he had been operating was found abandoned in a field outside the minimum security Tillery Correctional Center.

The 51-year-old was serving three life sentences for the 1980 robbery and shooting deaths of two men in Yadkin County.

He had been a reasonably well-behaved inmate, according to records, with no infractions listed for violent behavior while in prison.

A spokeswoman for the North Carolina Department of Public Safety did not immediately respond to questions about why a man convicted of double first-degree murder had been assigned to work without supervision.