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Police arrest suspect's mother after Arkansas jail break

By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 4:43 PM EDT, Wed May 30, 2012
Cortez Rashod Hooper, left, and Quincy Vernard Stewart cut the bars off a small window, authorities say.
Cortez Rashod Hooper, left, and Quincy Vernard Stewart cut the bars off a small window, authorities say.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The mother of a murder suspect is accused of helping him escape jail, a deputy says
  • Quincy Stewart, Cortez Rashod Hooper were awaiting trial on murder charges
  • They used hacksaw blades to bust out of their cell early Monday, authorities say

(CNN) -- Arkansas authorities have arrested a woman accused of helping two murder suspects escape jail by sneaking in hacksaw blades.

Officials believe that Charlene Stewart, 55, of Texarkana, passed up to four hacksaw blades to her son, Quincy Vernard Stewart, 36, Chief Deputy Duke Schofield of the Miller County Sheriff's Department said Wednesday.

Schofield said Charlene Stewart was arrested late Tuesday and is in a Texarkana jail facing felony charges of furnishing prohibited articles and implements of escape.

Her son is one of two murder suspects who escaped the Miller County jail in Texarkana early Monday. A search of their cell showed that Quincy Stewart and Cortez Rashod Hooper, 23, apparently used a hacksaw to cut through metal bars covering a 1-by-3.5-foot window, then broke the glass to gain access to an outside courtyard, authorities have said. Two mattresses were pushed through the broken window in an effort to soften the detainees' landing.

"We cannot talk about how she got the hacksaw blade by our guards and into the system," Schofield said Wednesday.

And authorities haven't figured out how the two managed to get outside a 10-foot fence topped with razor wire. A police K-9 unit was brought in but failed to track the men.

Hooper, who is about 5 feet tall and weighs 130 pounds, is charged with first-degree murder and aggravated assault, said county dispatcher Vanessa Schaeffer. Quincy Stewart, who is 5-foot-7 and weighs 169 pounds, was being held on a capital murder charge from Bowie County, Texas, and also is charged with possession of a controlled substance.

CNN's Rick Martin contributed to this report.

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