The manhunt for two suspects that started Thursday night east of Arkansas City was called off around 2:30 p.m. Friday, but law enforcement said they don’t think any nearby residents are in danger.
Reports of the two people — a man and a woman — surfaced Friday as the pair eluded authorities while leaving evidence of their whereabouts.
Coals of what was a campfire where the suspects stayed overnight were found, and the pair was said to have stopped for water and a quick phone charge at a residence on 99th Drive.
The Cowley County Sheriff’s Office advised people in the area to check and secure their outbuildings and vehicles.
The last known description of the suspects was a white male with a black coat and coveralls, and a white female with a tan coat and coveralls.
Kansas Highway Patrol, Cowley sheriff officers and Cowley Trackers were searching wooded areas and outbuildings Friday afternoon on 272nd Road, between 101st Road and 91st Road.
Deputies and troopers searched a house that was reported open on the corner of 101st Road and 272nd Road, but no one was found inside.
Air Trooper Ryan Tauer of the Kansas Highway Patrol flew his helicopter around six hours between Thursday and Friday, but never saw the suspects from the air, he said.
He said the infra-red camera used Thursday night probably wasn’t able to pick them up after they jumped into the cold Walnut River. Tauer thought by Friday afternoon the suspects could have moved out of the perimeter and escaped.
The ordeal started about 5 p.m. Thursday when a red pickup fled police trying to make a traffic stop east of Strother Field. The driver reportedly drove through some fields and unmarked areas during the chase.
The vehicle pursuit ended when the truck became stuck in the mud, and the pair fled on foot in a wooded area east of 111th Road and 252nd Road, northeast of Ark City.
Sheriff Dave Falletti on Friday said the incident involved somebody with warrants, but he declined to release the name.
“We have an idea who they are, and we’re following up on that right now,” he said Friday morning.
“It got dark on us pretty quick,” he added. “We’re just not sure where they went.”
The maroon Chevy pickup was towed from private property near the Walnut River. Express Recovery sent a 4-wheel drive wrecker and was able to remove the vehicle.
The truck is registered to the owner, but with the wrong tag, according to scanner records.
Cowley County Sheriff’s personnel were assisted by the Kansas Highway Patrol and the Cowley Trackers on both days.