Inmate recaptured after escaping Cocke County Jail

Kenneth Rathbone (source: Cocke County Jail)

NEWPORT (WATE) – An inmate who ran from the Cocke County Jail on Wednesday morning has been recaptured.

The Cocke County Sheriff’s Office says Kenneth Carl Rathbone, 56, was assigned to the kitchen as a trustee. A delivery truck brought food to the jail around 9:20 a.m. and inmates were unloading it when Rathbone ran.

The attending officer lost sight of Rathbone along the riverbank behind Brown’s Funeral Home. His clothing was found along the riverbank. Deputies say he changed into civilian clothing at some point and went into the river to evade authorities.

A witness saw him walk from the river onto Cope Boulevard around a mile and a half away. The witness agreed to help officials to avoid charges for aiding a fugitive.

Two officers went to White Oak Avenue in an unmarked vehicle, where Rathbone was supposed to have been walking. The Cocke County Sheriff’s Office and Newport Police Department set up a two-block perimeter. One officer saw Rathbone standing behind a tree.

Rathbone tried walking toward the road at that point. An officer ordered him to stop, but he tried to run off. At that point, an officer fired a taser at Rathbone, causing him to fall to the ground face first.

Rathbone was taken into custody at 10:34 a.m., just over an hour after he escaped. He was already serving a two year sentence for failure to appear, driving while revoked, aggravated assault, leaving the scene of an accident, failure to exercise due care and reckless endangerment. He will now face charges of felony escape.

He has been transferred to the Claiborne County Jail for safekeeping.

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