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Inmate from Alameda County who walked from Sierra foothills prison camp apprehended

Authorities have apprehended an inmate from Alameda County who walked away from a minimum-security prison camp in the Sierra foothills, hours after he walked away Friday morning.

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) said 26-year-old Jonathan LealBetancourt was discovered missing at 3 a.m. Friday during a headcount at Vallecito Conservation Camp in Calaveras County, just east of Angels Camp along Highway 4.

Following the discovery, prison staff immediately began a search of the facility buildings and grounds with the help of local law enforcement agencies and Cal Fire, which jointly operates the prison camp with CDCR.

In an update Friday afternoon, corrections officials said that LealBetancourt was apprehended in the community of Vallecito without incident. He was transported to Sierra Conservation Center, a prison in Tuolumne County.

Corrections officials said his case will be referred to the Calaveras County District Attorney's Office for possible escape charges.

Vallecito Conservation Camp provides crews fire suppression and flood control activities in areas around Calaveras and Tuolumne County, as well as throughout California. Camp inmates also conduct community service projects in the local area, according to the CDCR website.

Jonathan LealBetancourt
Jonathan LealBetancourt California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation

LealBetancourt was admitted from Alameda County in June 2023 on a five-year, four-month sentence for first-degree burglary, receiving stolen property, vehicle theft, and buying/receiving stolen vehicle and construction equipment.

According to CDCR, 99% of all people who have left an adult institution, camp, or community-based program without permission since 1977 have been apprehended. 

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