DEER LODGE — Montana State Prison officials say they haven't received any significant leads in their search for a convicted sex offender who escaped from the prison in Deer Lodge and remained at large on Tuesday.
Dean Randolph Jess was working for motor vehicle maintenance on a service call at about 11 a.m. Monday when he escaped, spokeswoman Linda Moodry said.
The vehicle he was in was found a half-hour later about 1 1/2 miles away, and prison officials said in a statement Tuesday he disappeared in a rugged area covered by trees and brush.
A ground search is being conducted by the Powell County Sheriff's Office, the Anaconda Police Department, the Montana Highway Patrol and prison staff. The highway patrol and the Department of Homeland Security are also searching the area by air.
There has been no sign of the escaped inmate, the statement said.
Jess, who is 42, is described as white, 5 feet, 10 inches tall and weighing about 180 pounds. He has green eyes and a shaved head.
Jess was sentenced to 55 years in prison for a 2004 Park County offense. County Attorney Brett Linneweber told The Montana Standard that Jess had an earlier rape conviction in Washington state.
Jess was not a problem inmate and had worked for the prison's motor vehicle maintenance since 2006, prison officials said. An investigation into his recent activity at the prison is being conducted.