(Riverton, Wyo.) – Law Enforcement is investigating the possible sighting of Kenneth Ward at the Wind River Casino south of Riverton early Thursday morning around 1:30 a.m., Undersheriff Ryan Lee said. Ward escaped custody near Independence Rock in Natrona County on Aug. 31.
A Rock Springs man called authorities on Thursday morning to report the possible sighting. The caller indicated he spoke with a man that matched the escapee’s description; he also indicated the man identified himself as Kenneth Ward.
According to the Sheriff’s Office call log, the caller told dispatch that the man identifying himself as Ward asked for money for breakfast and made a statement about owning land “all over North Dakota and Wyoming.”
The reporting party was not aware of the ongoing manhunt until he arrived back home and read the newspaper, Lee said. He then called the Fremont County Sheriff to report the possible sighting.
“At this time the sighting is unconfirmed. Ward has not been identified in any of the surveillance footage we have reviewed as of Friday morning,” Lee said.
Ward is described as a white male, age 51, 6 feet in height, weight about 180 pounds with brown hair and brown eyes.
The following is information from Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Office:
“In August, Ward, 51, wanted in Sweetwater County since 2010 for felony larceny, was tracked to northwest Mexico by Sweetwater County detectives and the United States Marshals Service. Ward, an American citizen, was apprehended by Mexican authorities, who deported him, handing him over to American law enforcement officers for transport to a facility in Nogales, Arizona. From there he was slated to be returned to Sweetwater County.
“Sweetwater County Sheriff Rich Haskell said Ward’s charges stem from the theft of a Ford F350 pickup, a Ranco belly-dump trailer, two winches, a utility trailer, a Yamaha generator, and tire chains from Eaton Trucking of Farson. According to court documents, the property was valued at over $100,000.
“On the late afternoon of August 31, while in the custody of guards employed by Inmate Services Corporation of West Memphis, Arkansas, a private prisoner transport company, Ward and other prisoners were en route to Rock Springs on U.S. Highway 220 south of Casper when a bathroom break stop was made at the Independence Rock Rest Area in Natrona County.
“While at the rest area, Ward, who was handcuffed in front and not wearing leg irons, escaped. No one was injured during the course of the incident, and no other prisoners escaped.
“Once Natrona County authorities were notified, they began an immediate, though unsuccessful, search.”
Multiple sightings have been reported, but authorities have been unsuccessful in locating the man.