Tags: inmates | escape | new mexico | van

Inmates Escape in New Mexico: Murderer, 2nd Convict Make It Out of Van

Image: Inmates Escape in New Mexico: Murderer, 2nd Convict Make It Out of Van
(New Mexico Department of Corrections)

By    |   Friday, 11 Mar 2016 12:59 PM

Two inmates escaped from New Mexico authorities Wednesday night while they were in a prisoner transport van in the Artesia area, and they still remain at large as of Friday.

Joseph Cruz, 32, and Lionel Clah, 29, escaped while being transported from Roswell to Las Cruces. Authorities told KOB-TV Friday morning that they believe the men are in the Albuquerque area or Northern New Mexico.

Cruz pleaded guilty to first-degree murder, attempted murder, and child abuse in the Jan. 23, 2006, killing of Billy Chavez, the TV station noted. Clah was convicted of armed robbery and assault on a peace officer in San Juan County in 2007.

New Mexico Department of Corrections Secretary Gregg Marcantel told the Albuquerque Journal that they are investigating how Cruz, Clah, and a female prisoner made it out of a windowless van that was initially holding five prisoners and two corrections officers.

The van was transporting the prisoners to the Southern Mexico Correctional facility when it stopped in Roswell and officers accounted for all the prisoners with a head count, officials told the Journal. Authorities believe that the prisoners escaped in Artesia when the van stopped for gas.

They were not discovered to be missing until the van arrived at the facility in Las Cruces at 1 a.m.

KOB-TV reported that the female prisoner who was missing from the van was captured by authorities and is being questioned.

The search moved to the Albuquerque area when Cruz and Clah were spotted by a surveillance camera near a hotel in the southeastern part of the city in fresh clothes and without the shackles they escaped in.

"Our search teams will be divided into grids," Albuquerque Police spokesman Daren DeAguro told the Journal Thursday night. "They will be searching on foot, they will be searching any abandoned properties, under vehicles and in backyards. They will be looking in all areas."

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Two inmates escaped from New Mexico authorities Wednesday night while they were in a prisoner transport van in the Artesia area, and they still remain at large as of Friday.
inmates, escape, new mexico, van
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2016-59-11
Friday, 11 Mar 2016 12:59 PM
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