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Three investigations opened after Sandoval County jail escape

J.R. Oppenheim and Brittany Costello
May 09, 2017 07:14 AM

BERNALILLO, N.M. -- Sandoval County officials launched three different investigations into how two inmates escaped from the county detention center last Friday night.

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The sheriff's office will conduct one investigation regarding possible criminal charges against Paul Garcia, 25, and Blake McPherson, 21, as well as anyone who helped them along the way. The two broke out of the Sandoval County Detention Center around 8:30 p.m. Friday but were caught over the weekend.

While sheriff's deputies will investigate the criminal matter, the detention center staff will look into how the two escaped the facility. That internal probe will examine any potential policy or procedure changes.

An outside consulting agency retained by Sandoval County officials will conduct the third investigation into the escape and possible ways to prevent another escape.

"County officials expect the two separate investigations at the detention center to produce a complete picture of how the escape occurred, as well as solid recommendations for preventing future escapes," said Sidney Hill, a public information officer for Sandoval County.

Authorities will release information from all three investigations once they are completed, Hill said.

Though it remains unclear how Garcia and McPherson broke out of the jail, a criminal complaint says officials at the detention center noticed a portion of the recreation area fence pried upward.

“An opening large enough to crawl through,” said officials in the criminal complaint. It goes on to say the pair “likely climbed the fence to access the roof area.”

 Hill detailed some information about what the escapees allegedly did after they got away.

After leaving the center on foot, Hill said, Garcia and McPherson headed to a construction site across from the Santa Ana Star Casino and discarded their jail-issued orange jumpsuits. The two then headed toward a Bernalillo residence occupied by a friend of Garcia, Hill said, where Garcia grabbed a change of clothes and made phone calls.

Hill said a relative of Garcia's then picked the two up at a different Bernalillo house and drove them to Albuquerque, where they separated.

Police caught McPherson Saturday around mid-day at an apartment complex near Menaul and University. McPherson was taken back to the Sandoval County jail.

The relative then dropped Garcia off at another relative's house in Valencia County, Hill said. Garcia was taken into custody before 2 p.m. Sunday. He is jailed at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Bernalillo County pending charges against him in both Bernalillo and Sandoval counties, Hill said.

Garcia faces charges connected to several crimes, including the stolen van crash that killed 14-year-old Shaylee Boling and her mother Shaunna Arredondo-Boling.

McPherson was jailed for receiving or transferring a stolen vehicle charges in Sandoval County along with burglary charges in San Juan County and battery charges in San Miguel County.

Credits

J.R. Oppenheim and Brittany Costello

Copyright 2017 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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