While many people were awakening early last Friday to catch bargains at area stores for Christmas, dozens of lawmen from several different agencies had been up all night trying to catch an escapee.
William Alan Busbee, who was being held in the McDuffie County Law Enforcement Center fled from the facility shortly before 10:30 p.m. last Thursday night. His escape prompted an intense manhunt that ended when he was captured shortly before 6:30 p.m. last Saturday night.
At one point, there were more than 100 law enforcement officers from several different agencies involved in the manhunt for Mr. Busbee, who walked out an unlocked door. He was being held there on an armed robbery charge. Now that he is back behind bars, the 29-year-old North Augusta, S.C., man faces an additional charge of escape.
It was an unfortunate incident that should never have occurred.
And you can bet that McDuffie County Sheriff Logan Marshall is doing everything within his power as the county's chief law enforcement officer to insure it never happens again.
Sheriff Marshall immediately called for an outside investigation into the escape by agents with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. He wasn't pleased at all that the inmate was able to escape in the manner that he did. I wouldn't have been either.
And I'm certain that the sheriff will do his job from an administrative standpoint. It may not be pleasant for him. But he will do his job. I know the man that well. Such may result in disciplinary action being taken against one or more jailers. He will impose such action if he deems it necessary. Again, I say, Sheriff Marshall will do his job.
He's a great sheriff and we, as McDuffie Countians, should be glad that we have Sheriff Marshall in office.
He's dedicated to what he does in his service to residents of this county and to the law enforcement profession. Sheriff Marshall wouldn't have it any other way.
Such dedication and determination is what actually led to the capture of the escapee. That's my opinion.
The sheriff could easily have called off the manhunt after two days of really no confirmed sightings of the escapee. Instead, he and the deputies that serve under him stayed just as dedicated as their leader in finding Mr. Busbee.
In addition to praising the efforts of our local law enforcement officers involved in this manhunt, I also commend those who came to Thomson from other agencies to assist. Like Sheriff Marshall said after the escapee's capture, we owe a big debt of gratitude to Columbia County Sheriff Clay Whittle and Richmond County Sheriff Ronnie Strength, who sent manpower and other resources.