Manhunt for armed, escaped inmate in SC

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CHEROKEE CO., SC (WSPA) – Deputies and SLED agents are looking for an escaped inmate who is on the run in Cherokee County.

Blake Rochester, 25, escaped Livesay Correctional Institution in Spartanburg Tuesday morning, according to the S.C. Department of Corrections (SCDOC). Rochester remained at large as of Tuesday night.

Shortly after 9 p.m., Cherokee County Sheriff Steve Mueller said that deputies were still searching for Rochester. Mueller said there had been no sightings of him since 8:30 a.m.

Deputies looked on Union Highway and Old Race Track Road for Rochester after investigators say he carjacked a woman on Magnolia Street in Spartanburg around 7:15 a.m. Tuesday. The carjacking victim was punched several times in the chest and taken to Mary Black Hospital and has since been released, Spartanburg police say.

The SCDOC believes that Rochester is armed.

They say someone placed a 9 millimeter handgun near a wooded area for him.

Authorities followed tracks but didn’t find the gun, so they think he has it now.

Sheriff Mueller says they have pulled back the helicopter and K-9 units but are keeping men on the ground.

Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office sent reverse 911 calls to people who live in the area with a description of Rochester and told them to be on the lookout for the suspect.

Rochester was sentenced to nearly five years for breaking into a motor vehicle in Cherokee County, according to the SCDOC.

Prison officials noticed Rochester missing when they did a check at 8:30 a.m.

Police say the carjacking happened around 7:15 a.m. The carjacking victim’s 2011 Buick was found in Cherokee County.

Rochester has tattoos on his neck, forearm, right leg and praying hands on his upper arm, the SCDOC  says.

Limestone College is limiting outside activity. Athletic teams will remain off playing fields until further notice. Everyone at Limestone should be cautious.

If you have any information on Rochester’s whereabouts, please call 877-349-2130. There is a reward for information leading to his arrest.

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