Kentucky State Police search for off-duty inmate rescued from candle factory that collapsed in tornado


Francisco Starks, 44, was treated at a Mayfield hospital after being rescued from the Mayfield consumer goods building, soldiers said in a press release.

More than 30 tornadoes were reported in at least six states overnight from Friday to Saturday, including Kentucky, Missouri, Tennessee and Mississippi. Authorities fear the death toll will exceed 80.

After being released from the hospital, Starks reportedly walked away instead of declaring to continue his sentence, according to the press release.

Starks was serving a sentence for third-degree burglary, theft by illegally taking an automobile and receiving stolen goods, according to the press release.

Graves County jailer George Workman told CNN on Saturday that seven inmates were working at the candle factory when a tornado destroyed the facility and an assistant who was with them was killed.

The work release program for low-security offenders had just started last week, Workman said.

Kyanna Parsons-Perez, who was trapped under at least 5 feet of debris when the building collapsed, told CNN that parolees helped save her and others from the rubble .

Workman said he was forced to evacuate the 83 inmates from the main prison to other facilities because the damage was so severe.

“(The damage is) structurally large enough that I doubt it could ever reopen,” he said.

No inmates were injured when the tornado hit the main prison, Workman said.

“I’ve been in law enforcement and corrections since 1986 and I’ve never seen anything like it,” he said.

Anyone with information on the fate of Starks is urged to contact Kentucky State Police, Ext. 1, at 270-856-3721 or anonymously at 1-800-222-5555.

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