Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

August 28, 2013

Bell County fugitive back behind bars

Ben Tinsley
Jacksonville Daily Progress

JACKSONVILLE — A Bell County fugitive thought to be high on methamphetamine was spotted exiting a local meth house early Tuesday. He managed to elude Jacksonville police for hours by ducking through backyards and scrambling through creeks.

However, authorities ultimately located him in town near a relative's home — without shoes or a shirt and very scratched up, reports show. He was arrested and incarcerated in Jacksonville.

Matthew McDonald, 29, was expected to be transferred  to Cherokee County Jail and ultimately Bell County at some point Tuesday, Jacksonville Police Chief Reece Daniel said.

The chief had announced the conclusion of the manhunt on his Facebook page.

McDonald has a long criminal history including prison, the chief explained.

His fugitive status was in connection with a Bell County felony theft charge.

Initially spotted leaving the suspected meth house in the 700 bock of Palestine Street about midnight, McDonald fled when officers tried to arrest him.

“Finally, at about 6 a.m., he was located and arrested by officers near his grandmother's house,” the chief said. “He had run out of his shoes and shirt during the foot pursuit and was very scratched up on his torso and feet from running through the brush.”

Around 4:50 a.m. — as McDonald was busy shuffling through back yards and creeks — a homeowner confronted him. However, he was not captured at that point.

Chief Daniel said his officers will not be adding any charges to McDonald, for whom a $50,000, pre-set bond was waiting when the fugitive was placed behind bars.