FOX13 Investigates how an escaped convicted rapist was allowed to be on work detail

An escaped Arkansas prisoner last thought to be in Mississippi is still on the run.

Samuel Hartman ran off from a work detail Friday, Investigators said. But how did Hartman wind up on work detail if he was convicted of rape of a child and sentenced to life?

FOX13 went to Lee County, Arkansas, looking for answers.

READ MORE: Everything we know about the manhunt for convicted rapist who escaped Arkansas prison

FOX13 reached out to the East Arkansas Regional Unit and to the Department of Corrections to find out what kind of work detail Hartman was on when he escaped. The Arkansas Department of Corrections (ADOC) would only say that a conference committee decides on a case-by-case basis which prisoners can be on work detail.

A check of Hartman’s prison records found he was put on a Senior Work assignment in 2015. He also has been charged with battery while in prison and failing to obey orders, as well as several offenses for manufacturing contraband.

Squeaky Bryant lives in Marianna, just down the road from the prison. He said he doesn’t think Hartman should have had the privilege of being on work detail because of his rape conviction.

“No, I don’t think they should have like that or murder. They need to keep them in there. Work inside instead of outside. I guess they are learning,” Bryant said.

MORE: Manhunt continues for escaped Arkansas inmate after weekend search

Prison officials would not say how Hartman escaped, but investigators said they believe his mother and sister may have helped him.

Persons of Interest in Samuel Hartman prison escape
Persons of Interest in Samuel Hartman prison escape

Rhonda Igleharc of Mariana said he shouldn’t have been on work detail in the first place.

“No, he shouldn’t at all. Could be our kids or your kids and anybody who could be raped. He is out there. Think what he could do,” Igleharc said.

One woman who didn’t want to go on camera said that work detail and who gets it should remain up to prison officials, but Lee County’s Billy Smith said a rape conviction should disqualify an inmate.

“No, No, too much of a liability,” Smith said.

Hartman is considered armed and dangerous. Officials said he used a weapon to shoot at officers during his escape.

He has ties to Tulsa, Oklahoma and Wyoming.

ADOC officials said Hartman weighs 230 pounds and is 5′9″ tall.

He has tattoos of a rose, heart, sword, “Forever & Always” and “Sam-N-Christine.”

He may be traveling in a white 2021 Chevy Z71 Trail Boss with Arkansas plates 398 ZVY, or no plates at all, according to TCSO. The sheriff’s office asked everybody to be on the lookout for a vehicle matching that description.

Convicted rapist Samuel Paul Hartman, who escaped an Arkansas prison and is believed to be in North Mississippi, may be traveling in a vehicle matching this description, according to the Tunica County Sheriff's Office.
Convicted rapist Samuel Paul Hartman, who escaped an Arkansas prison and is believed to be in North Mississippi, may be traveling in a vehicle matching this description, according to the Tunica County Sheriff's Office.

Anyone with information regarding Hartman’s whereabouts is urged to contact local authorities or the East Arkansas Regional Unit at 870-295-4700.

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