Manhunt in Caddo Valley nets no results

CADDO VALLEY — A seven-hour manhunt for a suspect who highjacked a car in Little Rock ended Wednesday without success. However, the investigation as to who was responsible for the carjacking continued Thursday morning.

The suspect, identified as a black male wearing a black hooded sweatshirt and black pants, was "nowhere to be found," Cpl. Sam Hart of the Arkansas State Police said Thursday morning. Authorities still do not know the suspect's identity.

The manhunt began Wednesday at about 10 a.m. after the suspect wrecked the 2005 Chevrolet Tahoe he had reportedly carjacked earlier in the morning at a Little Rock gas station. He was apparently one of other suspects involved in the carjacking, but Hart said the others "got out of the vehicle" at another location "and left this guy with this truck."

The suspect wrecked the stolen SUV in the median of the 79 westbound mile-marker, damaging the cable that divides the highway and disabling the vehicle. One motorist who called 911 reported the man fled on foot toward the wood-line on the south side of the interstate.

Hart, who was just seven miles from the accident, was the first officer on scene. Shortly after, authorities placed Caddo Valley City Hall on lockdown as a precaution. City Hall remained shut for the rest of the day.

Search dogs with the Arkansas Department of Correction Ouachita River Unit were deployed at the scene of the crash, initially searching the southern wood-line before they were sent to sniff out the area on the northern side of the highway where Clark County sheriff's deputies found items of clothing.

The dogs and their handlers were eventually called back to the other side of the highway and continued their search for the remainder of the daylight hours. The manhunt ended at about 5 p.m. after officials had exhausted a search between Heflin Road in Caddo Valley to a few miles northeast, ending in Friendship.

"We searched all day yesterday," Hart said, noting the ADC dogs "had a couple tracks on him, but weren't able to locate him." Hart added that police have "no idea" who the suspect is, but went on to say that detectives with the Little Rock Police Department were scheduled to conduct an investigation today in the Caddo Valley area.

Though the manhunt has been called off, "We're still investigating" the incident, Hart said. "I checked this morning with no signs. We have a suspicion that he may have left the area. The dogs couldn't track him, and they're pretty good at it."

Rainy weather did dampen the search a little, as ASP was unable to deploy its helicopter, equipped with heat-seeking technology, because of the weather conditions. "Those things are a lot of help on a manhunt," Hart said.

Agencies involved in the search included Arkansas State Police, Arkansas Department of Correction, Arkansas Game & Fish Commission, Clark County Sheriff's Office, Caddo Valley Police Department, Arkadelphia Police Department and the Group 6 Narcotics Agency.

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