UPDATE 4:58PM MON SEP 12, 2022
The press conference video • written press release • doorbell video • and more are below.
Sheriff Rodney Wright held a press conference on Monday afternoon, September 12th, 2022, regarding Murder suspect Wuanya Smith, wanted in murder charges out of Omaha Nebraska. Smith was caught in Benton Arkansas on Wednesday, September 7th in an effort led by the US Marshal service, but escaped Saline County Jail on the morning of Sunday, September 11th, 2022 at about 10:30am. a multi-agency manhunt ended in Smith’s capture Monday morning, September 12th, 2022, about 9:30am. He was taken to Saline Memorial Hospital in Benton for lacerations on his leg and arm, requiring 25 and 9 stitches respectively. Smith sustained cuts while jumping over the fence in the jail yard, which had razor wire and barbed wire. Smith is currently awaiting extradition to Nebraska authorities.
The press release in full:
On September 11, 2022 at approximately 1030hrs detainee, Wuanya Smith, being held at the Saline County Detention Center escaped the facility. He was being held on an active warrant for Murder 2nd out of the State of Nebraska. He was originally brought to our facility by the US Marshalls service on September 7th, 2022 following his arrest in the City of Benton. He was awaiting extradition to Nebraska which typically takes a week or more to process.
While detainee Smith was on outside recreation time he was able to scale a 12-foot fence that was topped with Razor wire that surrounded the recreation area, while doing so he sustained injuries from the Razor wire. After scaling that fence he was able to scale an 8-foot fence topped with barbed wire and then fled north towards Edison Avenue. The elapsed time of when he started scaling the fence to when he was off the property was approximately 45 seconds.
During the investigation information was developed that detainee Smith fled directly to a nearby residence after his escape. Further investigation disclosed that he was then aided and transported to a location within the City of Little Rock.
On September 12, 2022 at approximately 9:30 a.m. investigators developed information that led them to an address within the City of Little Rock. Upon arrival of Saline County Sheriff’s Office deputies and US Marshalls a foot pursuit ensued and detainee Smith was taken into custody without further incident. He was checked by medical personnel on scene and then transported to an area hospital for treatment to injuries he received during the escape.
Detainee Smith is now in custody at the Saline County Detention Center where he is being charged with 3rd degree Escape (class C Felony).
During the investigation 34-year-old Corey Davis and 30-year-old Kiharia Greene were arrested and charged with Hindering Apprehension (class D Felony) and Obstruction of Governmental Operations (class C Misdemeanor). This is an ongoing investigation that will continue to ensure that all persons involved are charged accordingly.
Sheriff Wright would like to sincerely Thank all the agencies that assisted in the investigation and locating detainee Smith (including Benton Police Department, Bryant Police Department, Arkansas State Police, Arkansas Department of Corrections and the US Marshalls service). While this incident did occur, with the help of all agencies involved we were able to apprehend detainee Smith within 24 hours. This would not have been possible without the collaborated effort from the above-mentioned agencies.
UPDATE 4PM MON SEP 12, 2022
The Saline County Sheriff’s Office will hold a press conference this afternoon. Meanwhile, the following is a video from a Mabelvale resident who got a surprise when they found out it was murder suspect Wuanya Smith ringing their doorbell Sunday night.
UPDATE 9:20AM MON 09/12/2022 –
Saline County Sheriff Rodney Wright confirms that the murder suspect, Wuanya Smith has been apprehended and is now in custody. He was found in the Pulaski County area of Alexander. More information coming soon.
UPDATE 8:50AM MON 09/12/2022 –
The Saline County Sheriff’s Office (SCSO) issued an update Monday morning on escapee Wuanya Smith. Firstly, they note that the subject’s name is pronounced /why-yoo-ay-nuh/.
The SCSO, along with numerous assisting agencies are still searching for Smith. Capt. Wade Gilliam stated that law enforcement has done extensive interviews, records and physical searches. They now believe that Smith has most likely left the area. They have brought in numerous other agencies, including federal, to help continue the search, regardless of where it leads.
“At this time, we do not feel that the public is in any immediate danger but we do ask they everyone maintain awareness and keep a watchful eye out. Should anyone see Smith, please call 911 immediately.”
UPDATE 10:00PM SUN 09/11/2022 –
The Saline County Sheriff’s Office issued the following update, as the escapee has not been apprehended, and law enforcement has no doubt been inundated with calls and messages:
“Contrary to social media posts, know that we have not given up searching for Wuanya Smith. We will not stop searching until he is apprehended. The Saline County Sheriff’s Office, Arkansas State Police, Benton Police Department, Bryant Police Department, and US Marshals are actively searching. Every agency in the state, as well as surrounding states, are also on the lookout. We will post more as things develop. Thank you for all of your tips! We take each one seriously. If you see someone matching his description, please call 911 and do not approach.”
EARLIER: Still on the loose at 6:20PM SUN 09/11/2022 –
Updates in orange:
Emergency communications in Saline County are reporting that around 10:30 a.m., an inmate wanted for murder out of the state of Nebraska escaped from the Saline County Detention Center at 735 Neeley Street in Benton.
Wuanya Smith, age 20, of Omaha Nebraska is described as a black male, height 5’8″, weight 168 pounds, with neck tattoos and will have cuts from razor on fence. The subject was last seen headed North from the detention center wearing no shirt, white Adidas sneakers and detention issued white/black striped pants.
Sources say he was headed in the direction of the railroad tracks and authorities found where he shed the orange jumpsuit he was wearing.
He should be considered dangerous. Do not try to approach him. Call 911 if you know anything.
Multiple agencies including Saline County Sheriff’s Office, Arkansas State Police, Benton Police, Bryant Police and Arkansas Department of Corrections are actively searching for the suspect. More information will be released as the situation develops.