Provo police suspect an inmate who overpowered and beat a jailer to escape Friday night may have left the area.

Michael E. Preston, 27, Seattle, was being held in the Provo City Jail on a King County, Washington, warrant for a rape charge, when he forced a jailer to open his cell door.Law enforcement officials continued searching Utah County Monday, however, for the inmate.

Police Chief Swen Nielsen said Preston, who is adept at karate, severely beat the jailer, fled the jail on foot and made a call from a nearby Provo residence before fleeing in a car that came to pick him up.