TRION, Ga. — Officials said this morning they are “very close” to capturing two inmates who escaped from Forest Hays State Prison here Oct. 13.

“We are certain that Johnny Mack Brown and Michael A. Tweedel are no longer in the Chattooga County area,” Georgia Department of Corrections Commissioner James Donald said in a news conference this morning.

After a week on the lam, and believed then to be still in the area, Mr. Brown kidnapped a Chattooga County woman at knifepoint from her home Monday.

He had the woman drive him to Franklin County, Ga., where he is from, the commissioner said.

The unnamed woman has been safely returned to her family. Authorities believe that Mr. Brown is in the Franklin County area, and they have narrowed down the area where Mr. Tweedel may be.

The officials declined to give further details about where the two prisoners, who escaped over a fence during a recreation period Oct. 13, might be.

Joan Heath, spokeswoman with the Department of Corrections, said local law enforcement have been informed that the inmates may be in their area.


Mr. Brown, of Elberton, Ga., is serving life plus 70 years in prison for armed robbery, hijacking a motor vehicle, theft by taking, aggravated battery and aggravated assault out of Clarke County. He is white, 5 feet 8 inches tall; weighs about 149 pounds and has scars on his back and right thigh.

Mr. Tweedel, of Loganville, Ga., is serving two 10-year sentences for armed robbery out of Cobb County. He is white, 5 feet 6 inches tall; weighs about 153 pounds.

Both suspects are considered dangerous, if anyone sees suspicious activity they should contact their local law enforcement.

See tomorrow’s Chattanooga Times Free Press for complete coverage.