Murder Suspect Uses Ruse To Escape Jail

Undated photo of murder suspect David Sauceda, who escaped from Bexar County Jail on Sunday after assuming the identity of another inmate.
AP/Bexar County Jail via San Antonio Express-News
A slaying suspect escaped from jail by assuming the identity of another inmate and was on the loose for more than six hours before authorities realized he was gone, officials said. He was still at large Monday.

The man who escaped, David Sauceda, 27, walked out of jail early Sunday morning when he recited the personal information of his cellmate, Michael Garcia, according to the sheriff's department.

An unidentified person had posted bond for Garcia, who is in jail on a felony auto theft charge. When officers went to retrieve him, Sauceda stepped forward and gave Garcia's serial number to a jail employee, Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff said.

But Sauceda's fingerprints, taken by a jail employee to verify his identity, were smudged and couldn't be matched to those on file for Garcia, said Brian Menges, director of jail administration.

So Sauceda was taken for an additional fingerprint check using the jail's Live Scan technology. Menges said Saucedo's Live Scan fingerprints were never compared to those on record for Garcia.

"It's a whole series of errors just like any other unfortunate disaster," Menges said.

Wolff said he understood the problem to be that the Live Scan check of Sauceda's fingerprints pulled up Sauceda's own profile, including a photo, and that when Sauceda matched it, he was released.

"Somehow in there the communication between the two did not go well," Wolff said. "It sounds like it's human error. We don't know for sure."

Wolff said it appears Garcia let Sauceda use his information, but that a full investigation will be done. "He's being questioned," Wolff said.

Menges said two employees have been reassigned from booking duties.

A message left for Sauceda's attorney of record was not returned Monday.

Bexar County Sheriff Rolando Tafolla told the San Antonio Express-News that Sauceda and Garcia are members of the Mexican Mafia, a violent prison gang based in Texas.

Sauceda and his brother, Jesse Sauceda, were charged in the November 2006 killing of a San Antonio man, and with robbing a 59-year-old woman after binding her with duct tape.

Meanwhile in Kansas, authorities said a former corrections officer, Amber Goff, 23, played a role in helping two inmates, Steven A. Ford and Jesse L. Bell, escape from a recreation yard Sunday night.

Goff worked at the El Dorado Correctional Center, about 30 miles east of Wichita, from September 2006 until this month. A vehicle traced to Goff that was found 15 miles away contained items linked to the escape, prison officials said.

Goff left behind personal belongings for family members, including a book she had written to her children that police confiscated, according to family members.

"All signs point to my sister never coming home," her older brother, Jonathan Crutcher, said Monday and pleaded for her to come back.

Crutcher said his family does not know what happened to his sister.

Authorities said the fugitives should be considered armed and dangerous.

Bell, 33, is serving sentences for forgery, burglary, battery and escape. Ford, 26, is serving a sentence for robbery and indecent liberties.