A Missouri State Highway Patrol helicopter was instrumental in twice ending manhunts for murder suspect Daniel Campbell.
Members of the patrol’s Aircraft Division from Jefferson City assisted local law enforcement agencies Monday and Tuesday after Campbell escaped from the Texas County Jail. The organization also assisted officers the days following Oct. 25 after Campbell shot and killed one man and critically injured another.
“We are fortunate to have this resource available to Troop G," said Captain Mark Inman, commanding officer of the patrol’s headquarters in Willow Springs. “Large remote areas and sometimes rough terrain make traditional searches on foot and by vehicle difficult if not impossible.”
The patrol helicopter joined the search efforts for Campbell around 8 p.m. Monday –– just over two hours after he fled out a propped open door at the jail. On Tuesday morning, the aircraft spotted Campbell in a wooded area after he stopped at an acquaintance’s home between Roby and Success for water and a sandwich. It hovered overhead as Texas County Sheriff James Sigman arrested Campbell without incident.
On Oct. 27, the patrol helicopter located the missing vehicle Campbell stole and fled in following the murder southwest of Licking. It was in a remote location behind the home Campbell often stayed at in the Mark Twain National Forest. The private property only had one gate accessing the area.
The patrol said its aircrafts have evolved in recent years. Short haul rescues are now possible, as is fire suppression.
The aircraft used in the Texas County searches is equipped with Augmented Reality System (ARS), which is an advanced mission management and mapping system designed to augment full motion video in real time with geospatial information. The system uses addresses, roadways, businesses, etc., and overlays them on the video images from the forward looking infrared camera (FLIR). This system also makes it easier to operate the camera, because instead of looking away from the camera to look at a map, all the information appears on the screen. The ARS was purchased through a grant from the Missouri Department of Transportation's Traffic and Highway Safety Division.
Along with the patrol and Texas County Sheriff's Department, other agencies involved in the manhunt included police departments from Houston, Cabool and Licking, sheriff’s departments in Dent, Douglas, Pulaski, Webster and Wright counties as well as the Missouri Department of Conservation.