TBI reviewing evidence to determine how reward will be given
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is reviewing evidence to determine if the people who provided tips after spotting Curtis Watson will receive any of the $57,000 collected for a reward to the escapee’s capture.
In tweets on Monday, the TBI said:
“We are working, alongside the other agencies who offered money for the capture of Curtis Watson, to determine the most appropriate ways to distribute the reward. As part of that effort, TBI continues to review all of the relevant details of Sunday’s events to ensure authorities have identified those who immediately contributed to Watson’s capture.”
Harvey and Ann Taylor said they were awoken around 3:30 a.m. Sunday by an alarm on their doorbell. The Taylor family pulled up surveillance footage from a camera on their doorbell which showed a man in their backyard. The footage showed the man near the back door, rummaging through a refrigerator.
Once the man closed the refrigerator door, Ann Taylor said she saw the man had a beard and was wearing camouflage, fitting Watson’s description.
Harvey Taylor grabbed a weapon to defend himself if Watson decided to enter the house and called 911.
"I was frightened at first," Harvey Taylor said. "When we recognized who it was it heightened that fright."
The couple said at Sunday’s press conference they never thought they'd be the ones to help bring Watson to justice but they're glad they did.
"With God's help, they got him," Harvey Taylor said. "Our community should be relieved that he's back in custody."
The TBI publicly thanked the Taylors for immediately calling for help.
"They were vigilant just like we had asked the community to be," said a TBI spokesperson.
TBI Director David Rausch said at a press conference on Sunday the Taylor family’s Ring camera provided a clear photo of Watson, and within half an hour of the 911 call from Taylor’s home, hundreds of law enforcement officials had the escapee contained on the ground.
Krystal Hurdle spotted Watson on her drive home later Sunday morning and called 911.
"He looked like he was exhausted," said Hurdle.
Rausch said that around 10:55 a.m., Tennessee Department of Correction and Tennessee Highway Patrol officers spotted Watson coming out of a soybean field about 750 feet from the Taylors’ home.
Watson surrendered after leaving the wood area about 10 miles from the West Tennessee State Penitentiary.
Debra Johnson’s family called Hurdle on Monday to thank her for making the call.
“A lot of people may not have done what she did,” said Mychal Austin, Johnson’s son.
Several agencies combined to donate the $57,000 of reward money in the Watson case.
Read more at WSMV's website.