73
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      Sunday
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      Monday
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      Gas drive-off suspect subject of manhunt

      Cody Atkins, 24, of Edina, Mo.

      Updated Tuesday 9:10 p.m. - On Tuesday, authorities released the name of the suspect caught during a manhunt south of Kirksville Monday evening. The Missouri State Highway Patrol identifies him as Cody Atkins, 24, of Edina. The patrol says Atkins is being held without bond in the Adair County Jail on a probation and parole warrant for parole violation.

      He was also wanted on a Kirksville warrant for failure to appear on a 2011 stealing charge. Adair County Sheriff Robert Hardwick told KTVO just before 7 p.m. Monday that his office, and the highway patrol, Kirksville Police Department and Missouri Department of Conservation were looking for Atkins in connection with a gas drive-off from Willowbend Convenience Store in Brashear, Missouri. Hardwick told KTVO the suspect wrecked the stolen vehicle Monday evening near the intersection of Business Highway 63 and Highway 11 West and then took off on foot. He was reportedly being pursued by a state trooper who had spotted the stolen vehicle following the gas drive-off. Hardwick says a highway patrol helicopter, using thermal-imaging equipment, helped investigators on the ground locate Atkins in a cornfield in the area of Laurel Lane and Spencer Lane, south of Kirksville. It took the helicopter less than half an hour to locate the suspect and point investigators directly to his location on the ground.

      Atkins faces eight new charges, including first-degree tampering with a motor vehicle, resisting arrest, stealing motor fuel and operating a motor vehicle in a careless and imprudent manner involving an accident.

      He is also charged with traffic-related offenses. They are exceeding posted speed limit by 20-25 miles per hour, passing a vehicle/interferring with approaching traffic, operating a vehicle on a highway without a valid license (1st offense) and failure to stop at a steady red traffic signal.----------------------------------------------------

      Investigators in northeast Missouri are conducting a manhunt at this hour south of Kirksville.

      Adair County Sheriff Robert Hardwick told KTVO just before 7 p.m. Monday that his office, along with the Missouri State Highway Patrol, Kirksville Police Department and Missouri Department of Conservation, are looking for a man in connection with a gas drive-off from Willowbend convenience store in Brashear, Missouri.

      Hardwick told KTVO the suspect wrecked the possibly stolen vehicle Monday evening near the intersection of Business Highway 63 and Highway 11 West.

      The driver then took off on foot.

      The suspect is described as a white male with long blond hair and is wearing dark-colored clothing.

      Hardwick said a helicopter from the highway patrol is on its way to help in the search, which is taking place in the area of Laurel Lane and Spencer Lane south of Kirksville.