The manhunt continues Friday morning for William Earl Hewett, who escaped from the Brunswick County jail Thursday afternoon by reportedly posing as another inmate.
According to Emily Flax, spokeswoman for the sheriff’s office, William Earl Hewett, 22, of Southport, escaped custody Thursday afternoon by posing as another inmate.
“Preliminary investigations indicate that he swapped ID bracelets with another inmate–a family member–who was set to be bonded out,” Flax said Thursday evening. “That is based on a preliminary investigation, but that will be ongoing.”
Curtis Wayne Hewett, 20, has been charged in connection with assisting his brother, William Hewett, escape from custody, Flax said Friday.
Detention officers contacted the Brunswick County 911 Center once they realized William Hewett was not the inmate to be released on bond.
A sighting of a man who appeared to be William Hewett was reported at about 7 p.m. Thursday, Flax said.
Brunswick County Sheriff John Ingram on Friday said the manhunt is primarily focused on the central portion of Brunswick County.
“Currently, we’re still looking for him,” Ingram said Friday morning. “We’re asking the citizens to please report anything they see suspicious, or any person. We would like for them to take the opportunity to check all of their property and make sure that no one has tried to enter any structures or vehicles. And if they do see anything suspicious, please report it to us immediately.”
The sheriff’s office is offering a $1,500 reward for information that leads to William Hewett’s capture.
“Yesterday we used the K-9 units, more importantly the blood hound, to attempt to track him. We had articles of clothing from the facility here that he had on,” Ingram said. “We used that as a scent article to try to pick up the trail. We had some success with that, but there’s a lot areas that are swamp land and haven’t been able to get beyond that.”
The sheriff’s office helicopter, Air One, has been searching for William Hewett since Thursday afternoon.
“We also used the helicopter last night to attempt to locate him…that was unsuccessful. We’ve been back up this morning—a couple of areas of interest that we had—searching again with the helicopter,” Ingram said. “We encourage everyone to take a good look at that photograph—he has some pretty distinguishable tattoos on his face.”
Thirty Brunswick County deputies, as well as troopers with the N.C. Highway Patrol and Oak Island police officers are assisting in the search, which includes conducting traffic stops.
“Sheriff Ingram is urging people to lock their cars and homes,” she said. “The manhunt is still ongoing and will be until he is apprehended.”
William Hewett was booked at the jail Jan. 21 on charges of assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury, communicating threats, first-degree kidnapping, fleeing to elude arrest, speeding, and three counts of failure to appear on a misdemeanor, according to jail records.
Rick Parrotte, a defense attorney representing William Hewett, said the kidnapping charge stemmed from an incident reported in Richmond County. William Hewett was being held at the jail under a $151,500 secured bond.
Anyone with information about William Hewett’s whereabouts or who has seen him is asked to call the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office at (910) 253-2777 or call 911.
Port City Daily reporter Christina Haley contributed to this report.