BAKER COUNTY, Fla. -- The Baker County Sheriff's Office moved quickly to set up a perimeter in hopes of trapping murder suspect Christopher Scott Kilgore, but he still has not been found.
Sheriff Joey Dobson said the perimeter that included most of the main roads south of Interstate 10 is no longer in place, and all roads are once again open.
That doesn't mean police are giving up the search, Dobson clarified, just that searchers are no longer focused on one area.
He said the safety of residents is also a top priority, and the county will use reverse 911 as needed to keep residents informed.
A witness reported seeing a man of Kilgore's basic description heading into the woods off 228 about six miles west of U.S. 301 early this afternoon.
The Baker County Sheriff's Office closed 228 near Interstate 10 as searchers scoured the area for Kilgore, using dogs and helicopters to aid their efforts, but reopened all roads shortly before 6 p.m.
Investigators remain in the area, and teams remain ready to jump to the next area where Kilgore is sighted at a moment's notice.
Anyone with information about Kilgore is asked to call 911 immediately.
At the psychiatric facility Northeast Florida State Hospital in Macclenny, police checked vehicles as they entered the property.
Schools were affected in the area as well, as buses didn't run some routes, but Dobson said all students are now home.
Much like the Jennings State Forest area of Clay and Duval counties, the area in Baker County is heavily wooded, hampering the search effort.
Kilgore, accused of shooting his parents and killing his brother and another man, is to be considered very armed and very dangerous.
The new lead comes just hours after investigators decided their initial search area, east of 301, was where Kilgore was hiding.
Late this morning, the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office and the Clay County Sheriff's Office held a news conference to let neighbors know life could start returning to normal.
"We don't know where he is," said JSO Director Dwain Senterfitt.
Senterfitt said the perimeter that had been set up by JSO and the Clay County Sheriff's Office is now being broken down.
The intense overnight search in the area bordered by Normandy Boulevard, County Road 217, Long Branch Road and McClelland Road failed to turn up Kilgore, accused of shooting his parents, and killing his brother and another man Monday.
While Senterfitt said it's time for life in the area to "get back to normal," he reminded everyone that he doesn't know where Kilgore is, so residents need to remain vigilant and call 911 if there's any sign of him.
Law enforcement will remain in the area. There was a potential sighting north of the search area in Nassau County, but Senterfitt said that person was not Kilgore.
Jennings state Forest will also remain closed for the time being, according to the Division of Forestry. That closure also applies to a scheduled small game hunt that was to begin Saturday.
It's been a challenging few days for residents in the area.
Nervous homeowners have seen police vehicles every hundred yards or so, a convenience store has been held up at gunpoint, and schools are locking their doors.
The safety of school children has been a top priority for law enforcement since Monday's shooting and subsequent disappearance of the suspect.
Police believe Kilgore went deep into Jennings State Forest, and that he has the skills and provisions to stay there for a while.
As a result, Wilkinson Elementary School, Clay Hill Elementary School and Mamie Agnes Jones Elementary School have all tightened their security measures.
Wednesday, the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office indicated that students should not stand at bus stops or walk to schools.
Undersheriff Frank Mackesy said parents should drive their children to school, and those who could not, could call the JSO for a ride for their children if they live within the primary search perimeter.
Senterfitt this morning said a few parents took JSO up on its offer, but many parents appeared to have chosen option 3: not letting their children go to school.
Today, the affected schools are reporting a 17 percent absentee rate, similar to the number of students Wednesday who either didn't come to school or who left early.
The search area was narrowed down early Wednesday morning when Kilgore surfaced near Normandy Boulevard, holding up a Kangaroo station, then encountering a family heading to school before disappearing again into the woods.
He remains at large today, and, according to Mackesy, is "very armed and very dangerous."
First Coast News