Law enforcement officials continued to search Thursday for a convicted sex offender who escaped Wednesday from a prison work detail.

Dale N. Garrett, 49, West Jordan, was discovered missing from a work crew at about 2:30 p.m. He was assigned to the aqua area where tropical fish are raised just southwest of the main prison facilities near the prison dairy farm, said Bruce Daniels, executive officer at Utah State Prison.Garrett was serving zero-to-five-year sentences for two counts of sexual abuse of a minor and had only been at the prison since Jan. 19, he said.

"We haven't had a walkaway on the Draper side in four or five years," said Daniels. Garrett was working outside under minimum security conditions when he escaped.

"There's not a heck of a challenge to walk away," Daniels admitted. "Any time you run these kinds of (minimum security) facilities you run a risk."

Using search dogs and helicopters, Corrections officers and Salt Lake County deputy sheriffs combed the area near the prison Wednesday but found no sign of the escaped convict. About 30 prison staff members spent most of Wednesday evening checking addresses, contacts and associates of Garrett, but also failed to locate him.

Garrett is described as caucasian, 5 feet 10 inches tall, 185 pounds with blonde hair and blue eyes. Law enforcement officers were told he may have headed toward Las Vegas and were advised to use caution when approaching the escapee.