Flood of tips led officials to launch manhunt for escaped inmate

James Sanders

From a deluge of tips about the whereabouts of an escaped Berkeley County jail inmate, sheriff's officials considered two received Wednesday in the Sangaree area to be credible enough to launch a manhunt.

Dan Moon, spokesman for the Berkeley County Sheriff's Office, said dispatchers have fielded an "awful lot of tips" about James A. Sanders, who ran through an employee exit at the Hill-Finklea Detention Center and escaped a week ago today. Several of them were attributed to "reverse 9-1-1" calls to residents in the area.

But the two received Wednesday from "residents or workers" in the Sangaree area "were good, positive IDs," Moon said. "There were ones that we at least felt were plausible."

The earliest reports Wednesday had Sanders in the Farmington Road area, and then in the Sangaree Parkway Boulevard and Royle Road area. Residents or people who worked in the community reported that Sanders was wearing a gray hoodie, red shirt and dark pants, Moon said.

Authorities set up perimeters around the neighborhood and checkpoints at roads and intersections. A helicopter searched from the sky as vehicles were being checked at Royle Road and Sangaree Parkway Boulevard, and at intersections on North Main Street (U.S. Highway 17A), Moon said.

The efforts were fruitless, but Moon said deputies continue to follow up on leads.