The Latest: 1 of 2 escaped New Mexico inmates is apprehended

AP News
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Posted: Mar 11, 2016 8:15 PM
The Latest: 1 of 2 escaped New Mexico inmates is apprehended

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The Latest on the escape of two New Mexico inmates who fled from a prison van (all times local):

6:15 p.m.

Authorities say one of two convicts who escaped from a fortified transport van in New Mexico has been captured.

New Mexico State Police and the U.S. Marshals Service announced Friday night that convicted murderer Joseph Cruz was taken into custody after a brief foot pursuit.

Cruz has been serving a life sentence for first-degree murder.

Lionel Clah remains at large. He was convicted of armed robbery and other crimes.

The two inmates were able to slip away from prison guards while they were traveling in the transport van Wednesday night between Roswell and Las Cruces.

Corrections officers didn't realize they were missing until 1 a.m. Thursday.

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3:30 p.m.

Two New Mexico prison guards have been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of an ongoing investigation into the escape of two convicts from a fortified transport van.

New Mexico Corrections Secretary Gregg Marcantel confirmed the guards were on leave following a news conference Friday in Albuquerque. He said anything less would be remiss.

Authorities say they are still trying to determine how and when convicted murderer Joseph Cruz and fellow convict Lionel Clah were able to slip away from the guards while they were traveling between Roswell and Las Cruces.

New Mexico State Police Chief Pete Kassetas says investigators are reviewing surveillance video from a gas station in Artesia where the guards had stopped Wednesday evening to fuel up the transport van.

Kassetas and Marcantel say investigators are considering all possibilities.

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3:10 p.m.

Federal officials are now offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the capture of each of the two convicts who escaped from a prison transport van in southeastern New Mexico.

New Mexico State Police Chief Pete Kassetas announced the partnership with the U.S. Marshals Service during a news conference Friday in Albuquerque.

He says tips have come in from as far away as Texas and California and that the reach of the federal Marshals Service will help as the manhunt continues. He says all tips are being vetted.

Kassetas says there's no doubt convicted murderer Joseph Cruz and fellow convict Lionel Clah have been receiving help while running from authorities.

Authorities warned that Cruz and Clah should be considered armed and dangerous.

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10:20 a.m.

A spokesman says Gov. Susana Martinez is closely following the search for two New Mexico inmates who fled from a prison van.

Martinez has been in Las Vegas for the NCAA basketball tournament since Thursday. Spokesman Mike Lonergan says she takes the escape of Joseph Cruz and Lionel Clah "very seriously" and has directed the Corrections and Public Safety departments to work together to capture the fugitives.

Cruz was serving a life sentence for first-degree murder, while Clah was convicted of armed robbery and other crimes.

Authorities say they were last accounted for around 8:30 p.m. Wednesday in the Roswell area. Corrections officers didn't realize they were missing until 1 a.m. Thursday.

Lonergan says Martinez was notified of their escape around 3:30 a.m. Thursday.