BAY MINETTE, Ala. (WKRG) — The quiet streets of the Scarlet Hills neighborhood were right in the middle of Wednesday’s search for convicted child rapist Jesse Tidwell, Jr.
“It was different,” says Eric Webb. “I didn’t really get scared and nervous about it until it was said he was found across the road.”
Webb has lived in the neighborhood for almost 30 years and was cutting the grass when he got a phone call.
“I had heard a couple of sirens but I didn’t know anything until he said the guy had escaped and I knew through the woods it was only a hundred yards or so.”Eric Webb
He didn’t go inside and lock his doors. Instead, he let his dogs out and waited. “I wasn’t walking around the yard but I wanted to know if he was in here, you know. at least have a chance to dial 911 instead of him sneaking in.”
We now know Tidwell was at a doctor’s office for a follow-up appointment but never made it inside. Instead, he slipped his handcuffs and shackles, opened the door and took off through the woods. That began an all-out manhunt through thick woods and an invasion of law enforcement into Webb’s neighborhood. “I saw the dog truck and I got worried then he’s close, he’s close,” said Webb.
On the run for almost two hours, Tidwell would be captured not far from Webb’s home.
“That got to bothering me last night when I got to thinking about it. Maybe they need to review their procedures or whatever they have going on down there.”Eric Webb
Concerns shared by many in a community now wanting to know how something like this could have happened.