Five Of 8 N.M. Escapees Still On The Lam

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.
Five of eight inmates who escaped from a county jail after shimmying up pipes and cutting a hole in the roof remained at large Tuesday and were considered dangerous. Among them were a convicted murderer and another man charged with murder.

The escape was discovered Sunday night. Federal, state and local authorities spent much of Monday interviewing the escapees' family members and friends. They searched homes in the Clovis area, near the Texas state line, as well as one in Albuquerque, District Attorney Matt Chandler said.

Investigators "are looking at every family and background friend of the suspects and they will continue to do that until they hopefully capture these individuals," Chandler said at news conference Monday. "To get tunnel vision on where one suspect might be going we could actually miss the lead on another one."

By Monday night, three of the original eight inmates had been captured.

Victor Apodaca was chased and captured not far from the jail soon after his escape; the sheriff's office gave no details on Apodaca's record. A tip led authorities to Raynaldo Enriquez in Lubbock, Texas, Chandler said. Enriquez, 19, had been previously charged with aggravated burglary, robbery, and assault and battery counts.

Another fugitive, Javier Zapata, 19, was recaptured by U.S. Marshals Monday night in Cactus, Texas. He had been jailed on charges of aggravated assault, shooting at a motor vehicle and child abuse.

Authorities believe all but two of the men still at large have separated, Curry County Sheriff Matt Murray said.

The eight were discovered missing when police saw two people in orange jumpsuits running near the jail, Murray said.

The inmates apparently had used handmade instruments to cut the hole in the roof near a skylight, he said. They gained access to the roof area by climbing plumbing pipes in a narrow space behind the wall of a shower unit.

Murray said it appeared some in the group used an evergreen tree near the building to break their falls to reach street level.

He said he didn't know whether any of the men have weapons. "They are dangerous individuals," he said.

One of the missing inmates was identified as Edward Salas, 23, who was sentenced to life in prison last month for the 2005 murder of a 10-year-old boy. Shots were fired through the child's bedroom window as he slept.

Salas was being held at the jail while awaiting transfer to state custody, authorities said.

Another escapee, 19-year-old Larry McClendon, was charged with murder and aggravated robbery in the January 2007 death of a store owner.

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

Officials are offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the capture of the escapees, reports CBS affiliate KRQE-TV in Albuquerque.

An investigation into what led to the escape is ongoing, including reviewing tape from video surveillance cameras in the jail.


The following are descriptions of the escapees as reported by KRQE-TV:
  • 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.