Who will get the $57,000 reward for Curtis Watson's capture?

911 calls released following Watson's capture
Posted at 5:43 PM, Aug 12, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-12 21:22:06-04

HENNING, Tenn. (WTVF)  — After vigilant citizens aided in the arrest of Curtis Watson, it's unclear who will receive the $57,000 reward.

Escaped prisoner and murder suspect Curtis Watson has been accused of sexually assaulting and killing correctional administrator Debra Johnson at a home on prison property.

Curtis Watson had access to a tractor, which he used to escape, because he was considered a 'trusty' at the West Tennessee State Penitentiary. He was in prison for a crime in Paris, Tennessee.

Originally, he was arrested for domestic rape and especially aggravated kidnapping. As part of a deal, he pleaded guilty to the aggravated kidnapping charge so he isn't considered a sex offender.

Sunday at 3:30 a.m. Curtis Watson was caught on a ring doorbell camera at a Henning, TN home after a days long manhunt.

Harvey Taylor Jr. called 911 as he watched Watson grab water bottles from his truck and refrigerator.

Dispatcher: '911 where’s your emergency?'

Taylor: 'I believe I see Watson at my house in Henning.'

Scary moments for Harvey Taylor Jr. and his wife.

"I put a slug in the chamber and I went to call 911 rather than come out because I thought I’d alert him if I tried to unlock my door," Taylor said.

The video and photos they caught on camera proved crucial to Watson's capture. Hours later, Krystal Hurdle called 911 and started recording on her phone when she saw Watson emerge from a soybean field.

Hurdle: 'We got Curtis right here on the ground... Yes ma'am. He’s surrendered.'

Tennessee Department of Correction employee Ashley Bird can be heard in the background of the 911 call.

Bird: 'Put your hands up for me Curtis, thank you.'

Hurdle helped alert law enforcement to their location on Caroline Street.

Bird: 'I have a TDOC worker with me right now.'

Without incident, Watson was taken to the Tipton County jail for holding.

Half a dozen different agencies contributed to the reward pool. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation issued a statement saying they're still trying to figure out how to properly disseminate the reward money.

'We are working, alongside the other agencies who offered money for the capture of Curtis Watson, to determine the most appropriate ways to distribute the reward. As part of that effort, TBI continues to review all of the relevant details of Sunday’s events to ensure authorities have identified those who immediately contributed to Watson’s capture.'

Watson will be arraigned in Lauderdale County on Wednesday at 1:30p.m.

Debra Johnson's funeral is on Friday at 12 at the Temple Church on Kings Lane and visitation is beforehand. On Thursday between 3p.m. and 7p.m. she will also have a visitation at 15th Avenue Baptist Church.