(CBS/AP) ST. LOUIS - Authorities are looking for two murder suspects and a third man who escaped from a southeast Missouri jail overnight. All three inmates were awaiting trials and are considered armed and extremely dangerous.
"With the severity of their crimes they were being held for, we do believe it's possible they may have the capability to get their hands on weapons," said Frank Casteel, 911 director for Butler County.
Authorities said 29-year-old Matthew Cook, 23-year-old Kade Stringfellow and 40-year-old Rodney Green escaped around 11:30 p.m. Monday through the ceiling at Butler County Jail in Poplar Bluff. Casteel said jail employees discovered that the inmates were missing a short time after the escape.
Cook is charged with first-degree murder, robbery and other crimes in the Feb. 19 killing of 34-year-old Sean Crow in a McDonald's parking lot in Advance, Mo.
A probable cause statement from Stoddard County deputy Hank Trout said Cook sent a text message to the victim using the cellphone of a woman they both knew, asking Crow to meet at the restaurant. Crow was found slumped over in his pickup truck the next day, dead of a single shot to the head from a .22-caliber pistol. Surveillance video helped lead police to Cook and a man who was with him.
Stringfellow is charged with second-degree murder in the July 2012 death of his infant son, Karson. A probable cause statement from New Madrid County deputy Danny Ware said medical workers became suspicious due to the child's injuries and inconsistent statements by Stringfellow, who claimed he slipped and fell while holding the infant.
Doctors at St. Louis Children's Hospital determined that the child had bleeding in the brain and both eyes, and multiple fractured ribs and other injuries that they believed were the result of abuse.
Green is facing multiple charges for allegedly breaking into a rural Butler County home in February, holding a husband and wife at gunpoint, then shooting them after a struggle before getting away with their pickup truck. The man was struck in the thigh and his wife was shot in the hand. Both survived.
Green was captured days after the burglary when a state trooper spotted him driving on a rural road and gave chase. The chase ended when Green's car struck a utility pole and a tree.
Casteel said the Missouri State Highway Patrol, Butler County authorities and police from neighboring counties and towns were assisting in finding the escaped inmates. Missouri State Highway Patrol trooper Clark Parrott said the patrol brought in airplanes to aid in the search.