Search for Halfacre suspended; Whitwell area schools closed Wednesday

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Law enforcement has called off the search for armed robbery suspect Dewayne Halfacre in Marion County TN for Tuesday, January 23. After several hours of searching an area south of State Road 283, officials have not found substantial evidence of Halfacre’s whereabouts.

Halfacre and another suspect, Tim Howell, are suspected of an armed robbery in Rutherford County Friday night. Eyewitness accounts also placed the pair at Andy’s Market in South Pittsburg TN Sunday night during an apparent unsuccessful attempt to break into the store.

The pair were sited in a parking lot of a Whitwell funeral home in the early  hours of Monday morning and we’re approached by a Whitwell Police officer. The pair would attempt to escape in the vehicle they were driving only to crash shortly after leaving the funeral home parking lot. Both suspects fled on foot from the vehicle. Howell would be taken into custody later Monday morning. Halfacre would remain elusive and unseen again until late Tuesday morning as an off duty officer who was returning to the county from a prisoner transport recognized the suspect from pictures and description walking along Highway 28. Fearing for public safety, the officer stopped the suspect and end up in a physical altercation with the officer. The officer, as required, was in a patrol car for the transport and Halfacre managed to steal the car to escape only to mimick a similar result from the previous day as he would crash the car and flee on foot from the site of the accident on State Road 283. The crash happen shortly before 11 am local time.

From that time until about 7 pm, a multitude of local and state law enforcement agencies participated is a foot search with the assistance of a Tennessee Highway Patrol helicopter. After several hours of following up on suspected citizen sightings and establishing a perimeter and closing in on the suspect, the weather and apparent lack of tangible evidence to follow the suspect, the search was called off.

In response to the lack of apprehension of Halfacre, Mark Griffith, Director of Schools for Marion County TN Schools, announced that the Whitwell Elementary, Whitwell Middle, and Whitwell High Schools would be close Wednesday, January 24.