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Officials capture escaped inmates

BY ZACK STEEN

zsteen@dailycorinthian.com

Two inmates who escaped from state prison five days ago have been captured.

The Mississippi Department of Corrections said 31-year-old Jonathan Blankenship and 25-year-old Christopher Benson High were caught Wednesday in Meridian.

Blankenship has Corinth connections and is serving a five-year sentence for aggravated assault on a police officer and conspiracy to commit a crime in Alcorn County.

High was sentenced to 12 years for a burglary conviction in Carroll County.

The Associated Press reported that both men were recaptured in separate locations of Lauderdale County. They had both been missing since July 5 from the Central Mississippi Correctional Facility in Rankin County.

Officials warned the public saying the two inmates should be considered armed and dangerous. Law enforcement had issued reward money of $12,500 for information leading to their recapture. Numerous agencies, including the FBI, are involved in the search for the men.

Officials believe the men broke into a camper and a business about 5 miles from the prison after their escape and stayed in the rear of the business for several days.

A third inmate, Benny Ray Blansett, 59, also escaped on July 5 from Mississippi State Penitentiary in Parchman. He was recaptured later that day near the facility.

Blansett is serving a life sentence for convictions including two counts of uttering a forgery, two jail escapes, aggravated assault on a police officer and burglary. He has convictions in Marion and Sunflower counties.