Press Releases


Armstrong Escape

Searcy County Sheriff's Office
Joey Pruitt, Sheriff
News Release

For Immediate Release, 7/16/2018, 1200 hours
Searcy County (Marshall, Arkansas)-The Searcy County Sheriff's Office and Arkansas State Police are currently searching for a white male, Matthew Clayton Armstrong, 31, of Marshall, AR who escaped from the Searcy County Detention Center on July 14, 2018 at approximately 9:13 PM. Armstrong was being held by law enforcement authorities on charges of Murder in the First Degree.

At approximately 9:13 PM, another inmate, Jason Christian, who was being held on charges of Failure to Appear, created a disturbance within the jail, assaulting a deputy jailer, which allowed Armstrong and another inmate, Jason Brannon, held on Failure to Register as a Sex Offender, to escape from the jail. Brannon was caught hours later by the Marshall Police Department. Armstrong remains at large and is considered dangerous.

A command post has been established and a search is currently underway in Searcy and surrounding counties. The sheriff's office is currently being assisted by multiple law enforcement agencies including the Arkansas State Police, the Benton, Boone, Stone, Pope, Marion, Newton and Van Buren County Sheriff's Departments, Arkansas Community Corrections, Department of Corrections K-9 Team, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission and the National Park Service.

Sheriff Pruitt said in a statement Monday, July 16, 2018, "Armstrong is still considered dangerous and may be armed. We encourage everyone in the community to remain vigilant and keep their vehicles, doors and windows locked and secure." Pruitt also stated that information and leads as to Armstrong's whereabouts continue to come into the Sheriff's Office and that every lead is being assigned and followed up on by his department and the State Police."

Pruitt continued, "Armstrong may be accompanied by a white female, Mandy Watts, 43, of Marshall" and "anyone having any information or knowledge of Armstrong's or Watt's whereabouts is asked to contact the Searcy County Sheriff's Office at 870-448-2340 or dial 911. Do not approach or attempt to apprehend him and notify law enforcement immediately."

[Media Alert: The Sheriff's Office will update this information at 10:00 AM and 7:00 PM daily when new information is available. This information will be made available through the Searcy County Sheriff's website at http://searcycountysheriff.org/ or on its Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Searcy-County-Sheriffs-Department-374307239636543/. Due to the nature of the ongoing operation, requests for interviews will not be considered at this time. On Tuesday, July 17, 2018, at 9:00 AM, Sheriff Pruitt will be available for on an on camera interview at the Search County Sheriff's Office in Marshall, Arkansas.]

Matthew Armstrong

Mandy Watts


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Jail Progress Update


Just a few pictures to show how much work has been done on the construction of our new Sheriff's Department Jail



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Searcy County Reserve Deputy

It is with heavy heart, Searcy County Sheriff Joey Pruitt announces the passing of Reserve Deputy Vardry "Red" McElroy. Red always had a smile for those he met and will be greatly missed by all of us at the department. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this time. 


Services for Red will be Sunday March 25, 2018 @ 2pm @ Roller-Coffman Funeral home in Marshall

First Degree Murder Charge

On February 27, 2018 the Searcy County Sheriff's Department received a report of a shooting incident involving 26 year old Marshall resident, Jessica Thornton, off of Integrity Road, in Searcy County. The initial call reported the incident to be a self inflicted gunshot. After arriving on scene the SCSO asked for assistance of the Arkansas State Police. During the joint investigation by the Searcy County Sheriff's Department and the Arkansas State Police, evidence was collected and numerous interviews were conducted. 
On March 1, 2018 a warrant was obtained for the arrest of 30 year old Matthew Armstrong for Murder in the first degree. Armstrong was arrested and is being held, in the Searcy County Detention Center, on a $150,000.00 bond, awaiting court appearance.





Progress is being made with the new jail, here are a few pictures

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Halloween is coming!

Every child loves Halloween! It's the perfect time to dress up as your favorite super hero or scary ghoul and gather as much candy as your little arms can carry. We would like to remind parents that while, fun and candy are the main goals, safety is also important. Below you will find some tips that will hopefully keep everyone safe this Halloween:

1. Take a photo of your children, it's not only good for blowing up Facebook feeds, its also perfect just in case an emergency arises.

2. Make sure your child's costume is safe. Is the fabric flame retardant? Does the mask they are wearing have proper opening around the eyes, mouth and nose and can they walk in it easily without tripping?

3. If you are headed out with a group make sure there is a buddy system in place, it's easy for a small child to get left behind or caught up in a mix of other children.

4. How many times have we all wished we had Little Johnny's mothers number in our phone? Please make sure if your children are trick or treating with someone else, you have an adult's number in your phone.

5. Check the candy bag! Stay away from homemade treats, unsealed/opened candy. Get rid of those immediately. 

Enjoy your Halloween and Be Safe! 

DEA Methamphetamine Awareness Class

The Searcy County Sheriff's Department would like to sincerely thank each and every individual who came to the class that was offered Tuesday night and we look forward to hosting more classes in the future. A very special Thank You to DEA-TFO Lee Freeman and DEA Special Agent Scott Cunningham, Johnny Sowell from the 20th Judicial District Drug Task Force and Carol Crews from the 20th Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney's Office. We appreciate the time each of you gave to answer questions and listen to the input of the citizen's of Searcy County.

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DEA Methamphetamine Awareness Class

Drug Enforcement Agents from Little Rock will be conducting a Methamphetamine Awareness Class on October 17, 2017 from 5:30 to 7:30 pm at the Library in Marshall, Arkansas.This is a class that is open to everyone in the community.

This class is being held with the intent of making the community aware of the signs of methamphetamine use and and how to recognize Meth paraphernalia and how to properly report suspected drug activity.  Please join us in our effort to combat the use of meth in our county. 




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