When Southern Desert Correction Center officers arrived at Porfirio Duarte-Herrera’s cell on Tuesday morning, they were expected to meet the 42-year-old prisoner for his scheduled morning check.
Instead, according to authorities and the local press, they found a dummy, possibly made of cardboard, in his place – and learned they were gone days after an attacker. Convicted bomber on autorickshaw.
On Thursday morning, after five days on the run and receiving a $30,000 reward, the Las Vegas City Police Department said it had found Duarte-Herrera and put him in jail. Police say they arrested him in downtown Las Vegas after receiving a tip about an individual that matched his description.
Duarte-Herrera served a life sentence after using a motion-activated pipe bomb hidden in a coffee cup to kill a Las Vegas strip casino hot dog counter employee in 2007.
Paul Lunkwitz, president of the Fraternal Order of Police Nevada CO, told Fox5 Vegas that Duarte-Herrera escaped from a medium-security prison by using battery acid to break the frame of his cell’s window. He then placed a dummy in his cell to fool the guards before fleeing through the perimeter fence of Indian Springs prison. Lunkwitz said the prison tower that should have discovered Duarte-Herrera during his great escape had been unmanned for a few years.
“Not only can that tower see the unit, but the tower can also see the fence where there is damage allowing the prisoner to get through,” added Lunkwitz.
The Nevada Department of Corrections said in a statement that Duarte-Herrera was officially reported missing at 7 a.m. Tuesday. However, the search for him did not begin until an hour later, and an arrest warrant was issued again. The unit from which Duarte-Herrera escaped from home had about 200 inmates, and this prisoner had a cellmate, although it was not immediately clear who that was.
“This is unacceptable. My office has requested that the NDOC conduct and complete a thorough investigation into this event as quickly as possible,” Governor Steve Sisolak said in a statement Tuesday. “This kind of security lapse cannot be allowed and those responsible will be held accountable.”
Duarte-Herrara was convicted in 2010 after a jury found him and his accomplice, Omar Rueda-Denvers, guilty of killing 24-year-old Willebaldo Dorantes Antonio. Authorities say the couple detonated a pipe bomb on the roof of the Luxor hotel’s garage in retaliation for Antonio staying with Rueda-Denvers’ ex-girlfriend.