Officers look for escaped convict

PICKENS — Authorities are on the lookout for an inmate who went missing from the Pickens County Stockade last week.

According to a release from Pickens County Sheriff’s Office chief deputy Creed Hashe, James Christopher Townsend, 41, was last seen wearing a red shirt with the word “inmate” on the front and back, as well as blue jeans with a white stripe on each leg and black boots.

Townsend, described as a 5-foot-11 white male weighing approximately 210 pounds, with close-cut black hair and hazel eyes, was last seen at 2:30 p.m. on July 3 performing work on the facility grounds at the stockade, officials said. He was discovered missing during a routine count at 7 p.m. that evening.

Townsend, a convicted felon who has a lengthy criminal record for various types of crimes, was serving time for failure to pay child support and was eligible for release in December.

He had been held since June 2 at the stockade, located at 186 Prison Camp Road in Pickens. He was not authorized to leave the site for any reason, officials said.

Hashe said Townsend is not believed to be dangerous, but deputies ask anyone with knowledge of his whereabouts to notify law enforcement and do not attempt to approach or detain him.

“Mr. Townsend has several ties to the community through family members and friends,” sheriff Rick Clark said. “I would encourage anyone that has information concerning his disappearance to notify us immediately and to not be tempted to aid or facilitate this man’s escape in any manner.

“I will not stand by and allow his poor judgment to place our citizens in harm’s way.”

Townsend will face additional charges for escape when he is captured, officials said.