Wilkerson search

More than 25 law enforcement officers from several different agencies participated in the Wednesday afternoon manhunt for a kidnapping suspect off Irwinton Road near the Royal Inn motel in Baldwin County.

A man wanted on assorted criminal charges stemming from the abduction of a 69-year-old woman from a Milledgeville residence on Wednesday afternoon still is being sought today.

The victim was forced into the trunk of a car and then taken from a residence in the Harrisburg neighborhood by her abductor.

The woman was fortunately able to undo a safety latch in the trunk of the car that automatically opened the trunk. Ironically, Deputy Kenny Morgan with the Wilkinson County Sheriff’s Office happened to see the car’s trunk open and someone inside.

When the deputy attempted to stop the car, the driver, later identified as Willie Wilkerson, pulled off onto the shoulder of U.S. Hwy. 441 and then drove to the woods line before he jumped out and ran into a thick, swampy wooded area.

The suspect reportedly has not been seen since.

The victim managed to get out the trunk of the car on her own after it stopped. She was then aided by Morgan, who already had gotten in touch with Baldwin County deputies about the incident.

Local, state and federal authorities still are seeking the whereabouts of the 52-year-old Wilkerson, a former supervisor with the Baldwin County Road Department, said Baldwin County Sheriff Bill Massee.

Warrants charging Wilkerson with aggravated assault, kidnapping and robbery were signed by Ocmulgee Judicial Circuit Superior Court Chief Judge William A. Prior Jr. this morning, according to Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office Detective Robert Butch.

Wilkerson is also wanted on outstanding warrants for JAG probation violation and two counts of theft by receiving stolen property, records show. 

A manhunt, which lasted about three hours on Wednesday afternoon, in wooded areas along U.S. Highway 441 bypass and Irwinton Road near the Royal Inn motel, failed to turn up the suspect. The search included more than 25 law enforcement officers from various local and state agencies.

A couple of bloodhounds from the Wilkinson County Sheriff’s Office aided authorities in the manhunt.

Now, federal authorities also are involved in the search for Wilkerson.

Deputies with the U.S. Marshal’s Service Southeast Regional Task Force from Macon joined the search for the fugitive Thursday morning.

Wilkinson is described as a black male, standing about 6-feet-1 inches tall and weighing between 220 and 240 pounds.

Authorities are asking for the public’s assistance in finding Wilkerson. Anyone with any information on the whereabouts of Wilkerson is asked to call the Baldwin County Emergency 911 Center or Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office tip line at 478-445-5102.

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