4 Inmates Accused Of Aiding N.M. Jailbreak

Edward Salas, 23, sentenced to life in prison for murder, and Larry McClendon, 19, charged with murder and aggravated robbery. The two are among several inmates who escaped from the Curry County jail Sunday night, Aug. 23, 2008, in Clovis, N.M. AP/Curry County Sheriffs Dept.
AP/Curry County Sheriffs Dept.
Four jail inmates who authorities say helped eight others make a brazen escape were charged Wednesday, as officials kept up the search for the five prisoners who remain on the loose, including a convicted murderer.

Two people close to the fugitives were also arrested; authorities allege that they didn't cooperate with investigators.

Authorities believe it took the inmates seven hours to cut through the roof of the Curry County jail, apparently the culmination of a two- or three-day planning effort. Authorities did not immediately say how they think the six other people might have helped with the escape.

Authorities said the four inmates accused of helping, who were not among the escapees, face six charges each: three counts of assisting escape and three counts of harboring or aiding a felon. They were identified as Lawrence Kolek, 26, Manuel Lopez, 32, Kevyn Crane, 26, and Donald Jones, 27, all of Clovis.

Others inmates still could face charges. "They are still attempting to see if anyone else assisted," said Curry County District Attorney Matt Chandler.

Also arrested were Isodoro Salas, father of escaped inmate Edward Salas, and Asha Currie, the mother of a child fathered by escapee Michael England. Both are accused of resisting or obstruction of an officer, and the elder Salas is accused of a probation violation. It wasn't immediately clear whether either of them had a lawyer.

The eight inmates were discovered missing late Sunday when Clovis police officers noticed two people in orange jumpsuits running near the jail, Curry County Sheriff Matt Murray said.

Raynaldo Enriquez, an escapee who subsequently was captured, has told investigators he did the work to cut through the roof, officials said.

The escapees got out of their pods via different doors - one on the ground floor and another off a balcony on the second floor - that led to plumbing behind a shower area, officials said. The escapees then apparently climbed up the plumbing to the hole in the roof.

How the inmates obtained keys to open the pod doors, which normally are locked, was still being investigated, Chandler said.

Also Wednesday, authorities released footage from video surveillance cameras in one of the pods that shows an inmate opening a blanket that he had draped over his shoulders. The blanket is used to block the camera's sightline to two escaping inmates heading out a small door, one of them carrying a white bag. Authorities say the inmate with the blanket was among those charged Wednesday.

Two of the escaped inmates were caught in neighboring Texas, and one in Clovis. Officials said they are focusing searches for the remaining inmates in and around Clovis and Albuquerque and near Lubbock and Amarillo, Texas.

Those still on the loose include Edward Salas, 23, a convicted murderer, and 19-year-old Larry McClendon, who was being held on an open count of murder and aggravated robbery.

Salas was sentenced to life in prison last month for the 2005 shooting of a 10-year-old Clovis boy, who was killed by shots fired through his bedroom window as he slept. He was being held at the jail before being transferred to the state Department of Corrections.

The television show "America's Most Wanted" plans to feature Salas' story Saturday in an effort to help capture the fugitives, Chandler said.

McClendon, of Plainview, Texas, was charged with an open count of murder in March for his role in the January 2007 slaying of a merchant in Clovis.

The other at-large men and the charges against them are Victor Sotelo, 36, of Portales, aggravated assault; England, 29, of Clovis, tampering with evidence and being a felon in possession of a firearm; and Louis Chavez, 18, Albuquerque, aggravated burglary, tampering with evidence, receiving stolen property and extreme cruelty to animals.

The following are descriptions of the escapees as reported by CBS affiliate KRQE-TV in Albuquerque.:
  • Edward Salas - 5 feet 5 inches tall, 180 pounds, brown hair, brown eyes. Two tattoos: "SALAS" on back, "LISA" on right arm. Salas was waiting to be transferred to state prison after a murder conviction.
  • Larry McClendon - 6 feet 1 inch tall, 152 pounds, black hair, brown eyes. No tattoos. McClendon was awaiting trial on murder and aggravated robbery charges.
  • Victor Sotelo - 5 feet 3 inches tall, 135 pounds, black hair, brown eyes. Tattoo on stomach saying "SHORTY." Sotelo was awaiting trial on aggravated assault charges.
  • Michael England - 5 feet 7 inches tall, 130 pounds, black hair, brown eyes. Several tattoos: "Only God Can Judge Me" on back, "South" on right forearm, "Side" on left forearm. England was awaiting trial on charges including tampering with evidence and felony possession of a firearm.
  • Louis Chavez - 5 feet 2 inches tall, 177 pounds, black hair, brown eyes. Tattoos include "FEAR NONE" on chest and tribal patterns on both arms.