By Joshua Allen
ONL Staff Reporter
Authorities are asking people in and around Okemah to secure their vehicles and lock the doors to their homes as a search continues for a male suspect who fled on foot, eluding capture, after crashing his runaway vehicle just north of Okemah, according to Okfuskee County Sheriff Jim Rasmussen.
Communications Officer CJ Williams with the Okemah Police Department identified to the Okemah News Leader Sunday just before noon the wanted and still-at large suspect to be a Jeremy Steven Fausnaught-Treat (pictured). He’s now been on the run and/or has evaded authorities for about two to three hours as of the time of the publishing of this writing (just before 1 p.m.).
Ending with that crash was a vehicle pursuit that had begun at Homeland earlier this (Sunday) morning. The chase, however, wasn’t over yet.
Rasmussen said a male and female individual — both wanted out of Arkansas, he added — fled the grocery store after being suspected of shoplifting at the local grocery store around 8:40.
Okemah PD officers were the first to initiate the chase, as the vehicle with the two suspects inside sped northward out of town on Lake Road. The sheriff said the vehicular pursuit ended before the male and female suspects fled on foot after crashing on 1080 Road, about two or so miles north and east of Okemah Proper.
Their decision to flee authorities came after the apparent decision to leave two juveniles (genders and ages not disclosed) behind in the crashed vehicle.
Rasmussen said they were able to detain the two juveniles, who provided officers with somewhat limited descriptions of the suspects. The two juveniles were not injured in the crash.
Williams at the Okemah PD Dispatch provided more precise details, based on the security cameras at Homeland, describing the at large suspect as a white male, wearing grey or white sweatpants, a dark colored sweatshirt, and white shoes at the time he fled the store. Fausnaught-Treat has short brown hair.
According to a Benton County, Ark. arrest report, tracked down by an ONL reporter shortly after the identification of the fleeing suspect was revealed, Fausnaught-Treat is about 6’1″ and — at least, in 2013, at the time he was arrested — weighed 180 lbs with green eyes. He’s 25 or 26 years old, and, again, at that time, had his address listed as Hunstville, Ark.
Okemah PD officers called in backup, securing assistance from the Okfuskee County Sheriff’s Office and the Creek Nation Lighthorse Police.
After eluding officers for only a short time, the female suspect was caught, getting dragged out of a tree she’d climbed by K9 Officer Captain Patrick William’s today-triumphant dog.
“The dog’s name is Nitro … and I can personally attest to that,” Rasmussen said, surely referring to the canine cop’s speed and strength to snatch this suspect. “The woman had climbed a tree, and when the dog found her, she didn’t move at first and tried to act like she didn’t hear or see the dog, so (Nitro) just climbed up the tree and pulled her down.”
The sheriff said she was taken from the scene shortly after her capture to the hospital for stitches from the “pretty significant dog bite from where (Nitro) dragged her down from the tree.”
Capt. William’s canine was able to track down the female suspect after she had knocked on the door of Kenny Wilson’s house, who alerted authorities. Nitro tracked from Wilson’s door to a tree in the pasture, Rasmussen explained. Moments later, she was taken into custody.
Both she and Fausnaught-Treat are wanted out of Arkansas, the sheriff said.
Arkansas court documents and arrest reports indicate he is wanted out of Benton County, Ark. on a felony Failure to Appear, stemming from the two other felony charges of kidnapping and residential burglary.
In a phone conversation with an ONL reporter shortly before 1 p.m. Sunday, Sheriff Rasmussen said he was still in the field with the other agencies assisting with the search. The suspect has yet to be located (at the time of publishing this).
“We want to get the word out there to be on the lookout for this guy,” the sheriff said, keeping in mind he is considered dangerous and could even be armed. “Everyone needs to secure their vehicles and secure their homes.”
“Sometimes, out here in the country like this, people leave their car doors unlocked or homes unlocked,” he continued. “Don’t do that. Lock up your car and lock the doors to your house.”
More information will be reported as it is made available.
If anyone sees this suspect, authorities advise not to approach but to call 9-1-1 or the Okemah PD at 918.623.1234 or the Okfuskee County Sheriff’s Office at .918.623.1122. The public can also contact the Creek Nation Lighthorse Police at 918.732.7800.