Tiffany Souers: Manhunt for Jerry Buck Inman
Jerry Buck Inman
DOB: December 19, 1970
Hair: Brown (bald)
Height: 5' 10"
Weight: 159 lbs.
Profession: Construction worker
Possible vehicles: Red 1990 Chevy S-10 Blazer with silver trim with Tennessee license tag 158 DCX -- Green 1997 Chevy Camaro with Tennessee tag SRD 739 -- Maroon Ford EcoLine van registered to Kenneth McArthur
Wanted for the murder, sexual assault, and kidnapping of Tiffany Souers.
LEFT CHEST: TIGER
LEFT HAND: SKULL PENTAGRAM
LEFT LEG: SKULL DAGGER
RIGHT ARM: SKULL DRAGON CROSS MEMORY OF BROTH
RIGHT HAND: SKULL
STOMACH: FEMALE w/ GUN
12/14/1987: SEX BATTERY, ROBBERY WITH GUN/DEADLY WPN,BURGLARY, GRAND THEFT MOTOR VEHICLE, KIDNAPPING, AGGRAVATED ASSAULT (FLORIDA)
1988: Buncombe County North Carolina, Sex Offense 2nd Degree, escape from prison/jail
Now mentally tied to this case until the end, I started backgrounding Inman from the moment the news conference came on tonight. The above is what you'll find if you look at his release records from the Florida Department of Corrections.
When released from the Florida DOC, Inman told authorities (and likely his PO) that he was moving to 1197 Swansylvania Avenue in Dandridge, Tennessee. Dandridge is a townn of about 2,000 people in Jefferson County, Tennessee, with a population that is overhwlemingly white--not that that really means anything. The last time the Florida Sex Offender Registry updated its records on Inman in September 2005.
North Carolina records show Inman served time in North Carolina for a sex offense and at one point either escape or tried to escape from prison. It looks like he actually escape from jail in Buncombe County and then escape from prison in Montgomery County.
If the records of the North Carolina DOC can be believed, Inman served a little more than ten years behind bars in North Carolina and got out in 1999.
One hour into the news coverage, Google searches are returning little to nothing on Inman. That will change within 24 hours. Right now, the only national news network giving any coverage to the breaking information is Nancy Crace on Court TV. Her producers are doing some fast work, but as of yet the only useful information that has come out of the coverage there is an interview with the PIO of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. That interview revealed little more than the TBI is aware of the case and they aren't sure if Inman had much to do with Tennessee other than some family connections.
Left unanswered as of right now is the relationship with Kenneth McArthur (spelling may be wrong here). He's the guy who owns the Econoline van that Inman might be traveling in. I would think if it is important enough to bring up the guy's name, the cops might offer a little more info on who the guy is.
And consider this. Despite the fact Inman looks like he could bein his late forties, he's only 35 years old. That would put his first conviction for a sex crime when he was seventeen years old. It wasn't long after that that he was convicted for another one. He spent 11 years in jail. That leaves about seven years between the last time the cops had him on a state prison level and now. Methinks there is a damned good chance Souers was not Inman's only victim between then and now.
The Department of Justice National Sex Offender Registry also lists, curiously, an address in Constantine, Michigan. Constantine is located in the township of the same name in the southwest corner of Saint Joseph County. Not sure what, if any, significance that has.
9:00pm ET-- Fox News decided to wake up and get on the case. The Hannity and Colmes hour is beginning with the Tiffany Souers case and the new information. The producers are working hard there too. Noted foresnic anthropologist Michael Baden and Souers' mother Bren have bth been interview in the early minutes of the show.
I'm a bit of a privacy advocate, but I'm willing to bend on this one. A national DNA database is responsible for fingering Inman in this case. Inman wasn't even on the suspect list before his DNA spiked on the national registry search today. That is to say, if it weren't for DNA, there's a damned good chance this case wouuld never have been solved. I mean, Inman is obviously a drifter. I'd put money that he was on some work crew working around Clemson, probably got drunk or high on a Friday night after work, and started stalking the co-ed apartment complexes. All the talk about this likely not being a random crime, I think, just flew out the window.
DNA. Seriously. Bravo to Robert Stewart and the DNA folks at the State Law Enforcement Division (SLED).
9:20pm--The question now becomes, where is the sonofabitch. Local authorities say they don't think he's here anymore. Frankly, that's probably one hell of an understatement. It's a good bet that within 12 hours, they will have a local construction foreman come forward to help out with backgrounding Inman's presence in South Carolina. That might provide a little information on where he is now (maybe he talked to a co-worker about places he'd like to go, etc).
He has a past in Tennessee, North Carolina, and Florida. Stupid criminals tend to run to the places they know, so those places are obvious. He has a nearly two-week head start, but by Saturday (when I suspect America's Most Wanted will get on the case), Inman's face will be all over national TV. He's going to have to pull an Eric Robert Rudolph to stay on the lam. I think his chances are slim. Now, I think it will only be a matter of whether Inman is taken dead or alive (my guess, alive- he's a coward).
9:46pm-- As an aside, I'm reminded tonight of how Tennessee and Upstate South Carolina muders always seem to go together. A few yeas back, a guy named Brad Sigmon killed his ex-girlfriend's parents, hid from the cops for a few weeks, then took off for Gatlinburg, TN. I made it to Sevierville, TN a few hours after the cops there caught Sigmon. The next morning in court, Sigmon was without the benefit of an attorney. He felt the need to confess to me and another reporter at length...on tape. It happened to be one of the highlights of my career. My buddy Jay and I spent a lot of weeks on that case and it paid off in spades.
A year or so later, the former CEO of Sara Lee foods was kidnapped from Upstate South Carolina by a couple of ne'er-do-wells from Tennessee. Cockman, stuffed in a trunk and gagged with duct tape, ended up suffocating. I think those two criminals are on trial as we speak.
10:00pm-- As we reach the ten o'clock hour, it's time for the local FOX news. There is little doubt that this is one of biggest cases of the the last ten years here. In fact, looking back, the last time this part of South Carolina had this kind of national attention, Susan Smith was on trial for killing her sons. That was a bit of a golden age for the local news stations here. And that's all I'll say about that.
10:07pm--So, the big white shirt the suspect was wearing when he tried to use Souers' ATM card makes a lot more sense now. With tats all over his hands and neck, a big bult shirt with a high collar a looooong sleeves are good to cover up the ink. You know, the guy thought he was so smart. Good disguise and everything. Then his DNA betrayed him.
10:20pm--FOX news just reported that Inman's mom saw him today and that Inman was with his sister. When cops went to Inman's sister's house, they were gone. I give it 24 hours before the dude is in handcuffs in the back of the van.
11:00pm--Now the rest of the local news stations have their chance. WYFF's Erin Hartness pulled a good score in the late hours of tonight and got one of Inman's relatives on the phone. Hartness reported Inman did some yard work this afternoon. Jesus. Dude was doing yard work? In his hometown? Good game, sir.
I certainly hope my old colleagues have a crew on the way to Tennessee right now. Inman's days as a free man are numbered. Check that. Inman's hours as a free man are numbered. Over/under on Inman's arrest: 9pm Wednesday. I'll take the under.
12:01am--After scanning some news reports online, it appears Inman actually spent a majority of his prison time in Florida and only got out last September. So he's been loose less than a year and now he's on the run. Perhaps the best report I've seen so far (given, we're only four hours into this portion of the story) has come from one of the Greenville News' least-appreciated assets, Ron Barnett. Ron is the type of guy who LOOKS like a newspaper man, reports like a newspaper man, and usually writes like a novelist. That's why I like him. I know little of his personality, but I know he's a good writer. Just a few minutes ago, Ron published a transcript of his conversation with--get this--Jerry Buck Inman's mother. See, that's the kind of thing that a reporter should be doing. Bravo, Ron. Click here to read the discussion.
Ron apparently was the first person to inform Inman's mom that her son was a suspect in this crime. She told him that Inman has been living at her house since he got out of jail and was there as early as this afternoon. Vera McArthur (the last name clearing up the earlier question about who owned that Ecoline van) told Ron that Inman is bi-polar and suicidal.
I don't think we have to think very hard to figure out how this one is going to end.
12:27am--They got him. Arrested without incident. That should just about do it.
12:34am-- In the words of my wife, "That's how you do the news." As news broke a few minutes ago, we former news producers turned news consumers turned to all the regular outlets for news. We ended up with our local FOX affilate. Where its competition was running lower screen crawls over the late night talk show hosts, FOX kept its main anchors at the station. When the news broke, they were on the air. Not only that...they had Tiffany Souers' father, Jim, live on the phone. Not only THAT, they were the first people to tell him Jerry Buck Inman was in custody. Yep. That's how you do it. And frankly, though I felt like they kept him on for a little long, their line of questioning and interview was top of the line. Professional as all get out. What's more, they ended the interview in a great way. Kudos to the FOX crew for nailing that one to the wall.