UPDATE: Inmate found unconscious after walking away from Missouri State Fair

10 months 3 weeks 6 days ago Monday, August 19 2019 Aug 19, 2019 Monday, August 19, 2019 1:12:00 PM CDT August 19, 2019 in News
By: Jacob Cavaiani and Naomi Klinge, KOMU 8 Digital Producers

SEDALIA - A Tipton Correctional Center inmate was found unconscious Monday night near Sedalia. Earlier that day, he had walked away from the Missouri State Fairgrounds while on work release, according to the Missouri Department of Corrections. 

The corrections department said 34-year-old Shannon Dewayne Watts walked away around 12:45 a.m. Corrections officials, the Missouri State Highway Patrol and local law enforcement finished their search of the fairgrounds at 6:15 a.m. and did not find him.

Watts was found with the help of the corrections dog team at 11:20 p.m. near Highway B between Sedalia and Green Ridge, according to a release. He was unconscious and reportedly had head injuries. The release from the corrections department said he was transported by helicopter to the hospital, and is currently being treated.

The corrections department said Watts is a minimum-security inmate. He is serving a sentence for second-degree burglary, possession of a firearm, leaving the scene of an accident in Greene County and two counts of resisting arrest in Tane County, among other charges. 

Teams of minimum-security work-release offenders do maintenance and other work on the fairgrounds all year, and larger teams during the fair help with setup, cleanup, grounds-keeping and other duties. 

The department said the offenders do work "under close supervision at the fairgrounds." 

Sunday marked the end of the 11-day Missouri State Fair.

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