UPDATE: Eric Russell captured

WALTON COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Eric Russell is in custody according to the Walton County Sheriff's Office.

WCSO made the announcement on its twitter page at 10:15 pm Thursday.


Russell had been on the run since May 7 when Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officers tried to pull him over for a traffic stop. He took off and the truck he was driving got stuck near some railroad tracks in Okaloosa County. He ran into the woods to avoid being captured and had been on the run every since.

Russell is wanted in connection to several recent car thefts and burglaries.

For a short time Thursday, Laurel Hill School was placed on a modified lockdown after Russell was spotted in the area. Despite a massive manhunt Thursday morning, Russell was able to escape the area by stealing a truck that belonged to a construction worker. The truck's keys were inside when Russell reportedly took it according to a release from the Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office.

WCSO, OCSO, Okaloosa Correctional Institution K9s and Florida Fish and Wildlife Officers all took part in the search for Russell. Specifics on Russell's capture, other than the location at near the area of Adams Drive and Wallace Road which is southeast of Paxton in northern Walton County near the Alabama/Florida state line.

On a sad note, OCSO reports one of the K9s used to track Russell, a beagle named Freckles, died during the search. According to the posting on the OCSO Facebook page, Freckles "either overheated or suffered a heart attack" during the search for Russell.

"She was a great dog with a great nose who set the bar high for her counterparts. Well done K9 Freckles. Our sincere sympathies go out to her Handler and the OCI," OSCO wrote on its Facebook page.