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Escaped inmate in Letterman plot still loose

An inmate once accused of plotting to kidnap David Letterman’s young son remained missing Monday after fleeing with another convict from a prison ranch.Authorities searched by helicopter after the pair fled in a prison truck Friday.A Letterman spokesman, Tom Keaney, would not say whether the prison break would change any plans the talk show host may have to spend time on his 2,700-acre Montana r
/ Source: The Associated Press

An inmate once accused of plotting to kidnap David Letterman’s young son remained missing Monday after fleeing with another convict from a prison ranch.

Authorities searched by helicopter after the pair fled in a prison truck Friday.

A Letterman spokesman, Tom Keaney, would not say whether the prison break would change any plans the talk show host may have to spend time on his 2,700-acre Montana ranch about a three-hour drive north of the prison.

“I never comment on David’s private life,” Keaney said.

Authorities began looking for Kelly A. Frank, 45, and William J. Willcutt, 22, the day they disappeared from a ranch operated by the Montana State Prison. The search has grown more tense, with indications that accomplices may have stashed weapons and other provisions for the two in the mountainous terrain.

Frank was arrested in 2005 on allegations he crafted a plan to kidnap Letterman’s son, now 3½, and the boy’s nanny for a $5 million ransom. A charge of solicitation to kidnap was dropped in return for his guilty pleas to other charges, including felony theft and misdemeanor obstruction.

Frank worked as a painter at Letterman’s ranch and received a 10-year prison sentence for overcharging him. At the time of his arrest, Frank was on supervised release for a 1998 conviction for stalking and intimidating a woman.

Willcutt was convicted of burglary.

Mahoney said the Department of Homeland Security provided a Black Hawk helicopter for the search, with about 15 people on the ground Monday using all-terrain vehicles and a dog.

The two inmates were working on the prison ranch as part of a rehabilitation program. They were on a crew that moves irrigation pipe. Officials believe they took off Friday afternoon in the ranch’s 1965 pickup truck, recovered within hours.

Willcutt, who had a parole hearing earlier this year, lived in a prison work dormitory. Frank, eligible for parole in three months, lived within the prison.