By Suzi Parker
LITTLE ROCK, Ark (Reuters) - Authorities in Arkansas are investigating whether two escaped murder suspects may have been slipped a hacksaw thin enough to conceal inside the folders that inmates carry to court hearings and that law enforcement officials are not allowed to inspect.
That is one theory being examined as part of an investigation that also involves a look at whether any sheriff's office employees were involved in the Monday jail escape, Miller County Sheriff Ron Stovall said Friday.
Authorities are also evaluating new safety procedures including the transporting of inmates, Stovall said.
Quincy Vernard Stewart, 36, and his cellmate Cortez Rashod Hooper, 23, were caught on Thursday night less than two miles from the Miller County Sheriff's Detention Center in Texarkana, Ark. Authorities are investigating how Charlene Stewart, the mother of one of the inmates, managed to slip a hacksaw to her son.
The pair escaped early Monday morning after using the hacksaw to remove bars on their second-story cell, according to authorities. After removing the bars and smashing through a pane of glass, the two men then shoved mattresses through the window.
Charlene Stewart is charged with providing the hacksaw and a cellphone for the escape. Another one of her sons, Edward George Dailey, 34, also faces the same charges.
The facility has a history of escapes. County officials have attempted to reinforce the jail with new lights and security cameras as well as razor wire fencing, Stovall said.
The escapees cut a portion of the fence to escape on Monday.
(Editing by Corrie MacLaggan)