Arnold Nash, 65, had spent the past 26 years behind bars as part of a 45-year sentence in connection with a 1992 murder conviction. However, he was scheduled to be released in about 15 months when he left Mountain View Correctional Facility.
This isn't the first time Nash has been on the run from police.
About 37 years ago, Nash and another inmate escaped from the state prison farm in Warren. They were on the loose for 22 days before being captured by police in the Waldo County town of Morrill.
They were captured several days after one of the pair shot a police dog who was searching for them near Moody Mountain in Searsmont. After that shooting, hundreds of police and 20 canine teams from across New England descended on the small waldo county town.
On Friday, Maine State Police troopers, state game wardens and corrections officers scoured the roads throughout Charleston and nearby towns looking for any sign of the escapee.
"I go to work at five o'clock in the morning and, I mean, this guy's out here somewhere. I have grandchildren that go to the schools here and that really scares me," concerned resident Cherilyn Young said.
According to a state police spokesman, Nash left the minimum security prison around 8:30 p.m. on Thursday.
"I'm going to lock my doors. I think that anybody should be concerned when you have convicted murderer who's on the loose. Period," resident Dianne Lathan said.
Police said the if Nash is spotted, he should not be approached. Instead, they said, immediately call 911.
Throughout the day Friday, a plane and helicopter could be spotted circling the Charleston prison, assisting with the effort to locate Nash.
When Nash was last seen, he was wearing jeans, a white T-shirt and a light blue shirt. He is described as being 5 feet 6 inches tall, about 160 pounds and wears glasses.