On the Loose for 5 Days

By Will Johnson
Messenger Reporter

TRINITY COUNTY – Shortly after The Messenger went to press on Friday, Sept. 7, Bobby Eugene Wood was captured by a bevy of law enforcement officials in Trinity County.

Wood, 55, had escaped during the morning of Sept. 3 while working in the kitchen of the Houston County Jail as a trustee.

In a press release issued that same day, Houston County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) Chief Deputy Gary “G.P.” Shearer stated Wood complained of feeling ill while preparing and serving meals. He was allowed to go to the restroom and it was during this time he made his escape.

Wood was being held at the Houston County Jail for his role in a string of burglaries in the Houston County/East Texas area during the fall of 2017.

Shearer further stated he “… believed that Wood propped the kitchen receiving door open sometime during his shift in the kitchen. Wood escaped from the receiving door and fled east towards the city park area.”

An affidavit of probable cause confirmed the chief deputy’s belief and added Wood “… was able to exit the facility through a back kitchen door. It was seen on jail video (as) Wood (was) running through the sally port area and exiting through jail property.”

An exhaustive manhunt was launched for the escapee by the HCSO and later joined by Houston County Constable(s);Department of Public Safety Aviation, Rangers, and Troopers; Crockett Police; Trinity County Sheriff’s Office; Trinity County Constables; Groveton Police; Walker County Sheriff’s Office; Texas Department of Criminal Justice K9’s,Equine, and Office of Inspector General; US Marshals-Southern District; Gulf Coast Violent Offender and Fugitive Task Force; and the Joint East Texas Fugitive Task Force.

The fugitive was spotted in the Trinity area on Sept. 7 and just before midnight, Wood was apprehended and placed under arrest.

In a brief interview with the Trinity County Sheriff’s Office, Wood said he was unable to find any food and was drinking from water sources in people’s pastures, water troughs and ponds.

“He was in surprisingly good condition, but he appeared to have every bug known in East Texas bite on him,” Trinity County Sheriff Woody Wallace stated in a social media post.

Criminal records indicate Wood has a lengthy arrest record for burglarizing buildings and had been apprehended once before while trying to escape from a law enforcement facility in 1991. He also avoided apprehension when he fled on foot during a traffic stop in Groesbeck in late 2017.

Wood’s bond has been set at $50,000 for the escape.

Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at wjohnson@messenger-news.com.