A massive manhunt is under way in the woods of Newton County for a pair of men accused of molesting a 5-year-old girl.
Donald Mac Brown and David Wesley Crawford are wanted for the sexual assault of the little girl authorities said both men knew late last month.
Brown, 36, also is wanted by Conyers police for sexual exploitation of children, authorities said.
U.S. Marshals have joined Newton County Sheriff’s deputies and other members of the Southeast Regional Fugitive Taskforce to scour the area for the two men who are considered armed and dangerous.
“They’re extremely dangerous right now,” Marshal Inspector James Joyner said. “They both know what they’re wanted for. They realize the consequences of that. They are armed.”
Newton Sheriff’s spokeswoman Deputy Cortney Morrison said Brown indicated an absolute refusal to be captured in a message relayed to authorities from people who know him.
“He has made statements that he would not go back to jail,” Morrison said.
Brown had originally been arrested by Conyers police on a misdemeanor pandering charge on Nov. 28, according to Rockdale County jail officials. He bonded out on $2,000 two days later before Conyers police were able to file the additional charges for which he is now wanted.
Conyers Police were not available Thursday afternoon to provide any additional details.
Morrison said the Newton Sheriff’s Office was contacted by Conyers police with suspicions that a sexual assault of a minor had happened off of Lower River Road in the southern part of the county.
After an initial investigation sheriff’s investigators were able to determine probable cause and on Wednesday file arrest warrants for both men.
In addition to child molestation, both men are being charged in Newton County with enticing a child for indecent purposes and solicitation of sodomy.
Crawford, 54, is described as a 5-foot-5, 135-pound balding white man with blue eyes and gray hair on the sides of his head.
Brown is about 6 feet tall, weighs 245 pounds, and has brown hair and blue eyes.
They were last seen in a white 1999 Ford F-150 pick-up truck with Georgia license tag BZW9023.
Both men are considered dangerous.
Authorities aren’t able to pinpoint where the men are.
“We have received information from family members that they are hiding in wooded areas of Newton County,” Morrison said.
That consists of hundreds of square miles in the county. And for men whom authorities said are avid outdoorsmen believed to be armed with firearms and knives, they present potentially lethal challenges for those searching for them.
Police helicopters circled the county looking for Brown and Crawford on Thursday, and nearly 50 U.S. Marshals were joined by fugitive unit from police agencies including the Georgia State Patrol, Lawrenceville Police, the Rockdale County Sheriff’s Office and Conyers Police help in the search led by Newton sheriff’s deputies.
Joyner said he hopes that the two turn themselves in, but the fugitive team is prepared for any eventuality.
“They can contact us at any time and we can facilitate their safe surrender,” he said. “But if they decide not to do that, we’ll do whatever it takes to get them behind bars.”
If Crawford and Brown are located, Joyner said the search teams plan to engage them with massive numbers of armed officers.
“We overwhelm people … not with violence,” he said. “We’ve found that to be the best way (to safely take fugitives into custody).”
Bringing massive numbers, Joyner said, is the way the U.S. Marshal’s service has been able to avoid confrontation and bloodshed, even when taking down dangerous fugitives.
“People will look out a window, and even if they have a rifle, they have yelled to us, ‘Open the door and drag me out of here,’” he said. “They look out and see the way we are and decide, this is not the day to take these guys on.”
As clouds rolled in late Thursday afternoon, darkening what had been bright, clear blue skies, Morrison said search teams returned to the sheriff’s headquarters to end the manhunt for the day.
Anyone with information about Brown’s or Crawford’s whereabouts is asked to call the Newton County Sheriff’s Office at 770-784-2100, Crime Stoppers Atlanta at 404-577-8477 or the Fugitive Task Force at 770-508-2500.
The investigation and the search are ongoing.