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Search for escaped offender focuses on ND field

TOWER CITY(AP) -- Authorities searching for a convicted sex offender who escaped from a private transport company's van have surrounded a corn field in southeast North Dakota.

The Highway Patrol says 29-year-old Joseph Megna was spotted entering the field northwest of Tower City on Wednesday morning.

Megna was being transferred from Washington state to New Hampshire. Authorities say he ran from the van during a stop west of Tower City on Tuesday. Tower City is about 45 miles west of Fargo.

Dozens of law officers have been searching by ground and air. They also beefed up their presence in the communities of Tower City, Oriska and Buffalo, and the Times-Record reports Valley City School Superintendent Dean Koppelman put schools in that city on lockdown status as a precaution.