UPDATE: WHAPLES NOT FOUND, ROADBLOCKS SUSPENDED
Stephan R. Whaples
UPDATE: 07/17/2012 at 2:00 PM
The Sheriff’s Office has suspended the roadblocks that had been set up on State Highway 5 South at both ends of Norfork shortly after officers began searching for STEPHAN RICHARD WHAPLES. Following the initial flight from the Norfork Police Chief this morning, there had been only one additional sighting of WHAPLES by a citizen living nearby. WHAPLES was seen by that citizen to enter a white van and steal a blue shirt. WHAPLES may now be wearing a blue shirt with white lettering on the front, and he may also be wearing jean shorts or blue shorts now.
The tracking dog team from the Arkansas Department of Corrections followed an initial track, but lost the track around 11 AM near the railroad tracks. There have been no additional sightings of WHAPLES.
Even though the roadblocks and intensive search have been suspended, deputies will remain patrolling the area for the time being pending any further reports of WHAPLES being seen in the vicinity.
The Sheriff's Offices wishes to stress that WHAPLES is not believed to be armed or to present any danger to the general public.
At this time (9:30 AM), officers from multiple agencies are involved in a manhunt in Norfork after a man fled on foot from the Norfork Police Chief from a residence on Majors Street.
Officers believe the suspect who fled is 23 year old STEPHAN RICHARD WHAPLES, who is wanted on outstanding felony warrants for Failure to Appear in Court. WHAPLES, who uses the alias of "TRAVIS ADAMS", has a history of fleeing from police. WHAPLES is described as 5-11, 160 pounds, short dark hair. He was wearing red shorts, no shirt, and multiple tattoos. He has multiple prior arrests for burglaries, thefts, and fleeing.
Officers have no information at present to believe that WHAPLES is armed or poses a danger to the public. The Sheriff's Office helicopter and tracking dogs from the Arkansas Department of Corrections - North Central Unit have been called in to assist.
If any persons sees WHAPLES or has information as to his whereabouts, they are asked to contact the Sheriff's Office.
/s/ John F. Montgomery,
Baxter County Sheriff