By Sharna Johnson: Freedom New Mexico
On Wednesday, the mother of a jail escapee made a public plea for her son to turn himself in to authorities. On Thursday, she was arrested on charges of harboring or aiding a felon.
Officials said Hester England has seen and talked with her son and a second escapee since they broke out of the Curry County jail on Sunday.
England’s son is Michael England. She said she’s also seen and talked with Larry McClendon Jr. Court records allege both men stopped by Hester England’s Clovis home, where McClendon’s girlfriend also resides, for clothes after their escape.
District Attorney Matt Chandler said late Thursday evening that Victor Sotelo, 26, was arrested without incident in Albuquerque. He added it is possible McClendon and England are still in Clovis.
Four escapees remain from a group of eight inmates who escaped from the Curry County Adult Detention Center Sunday night, Chandler said.
“The citizen tips have continued to come in throughout the last 24-hours and law enforcement are taking those tips very seriously and continue to follow up on them,” he said.
“There is a percentage of those tips that indicate that the two subjects (McClendon and England) are in the area but we’re not narrowing our search to this area.”
Law enforcement is searching throughout Clovis and Curry County, Albuquerque and west Texas for the remaining four.
Officials said the inmates shimmied up plumbing pipes in the wall between two pods, cut a hole in the roof and jumped into a tree to the ground.
Convicted killer Edward Salas, 21, is among the inmates at large. Louis Chavez, 19, also remains missing.
Hester England, 55, was arrested Thursday after her 8-year-old grandson told a school counselor he saw his daddy while he was at his grandmother’s house watching TV, court records show.
McClendon is charged in the 2007 shooting death of Clovis second-hand store owner Emmett Salisbury.
Michael England is charged with tampering with evidence and felon in possession of a firearm related to the same shooting.
Hester England was released on a $6,000 bond Thursday, jail officials said.
Court documents show Hester England was interviewed by law enforcement Monday regarding her son and she denied knowing anything about the escape.
She made a tearful plea to media Wednesday at the jail for her son to turn himself in. Following her televised plea, she was taken to the Curry County Sheriff’s office and re-interviewed, court records show.
She maintained her earlier position that she knew nothing, until she was confronted with her grandson’s statements. Then, police say, she recanted and said she saw and talked to her son and McClendon at her home in the 900 block of Manana Boulevard after their escape.
She said she told her son to return to the jail, but he said he was not going back.
She said she did not reveal the information to police because she loves her son, according to court records.
The child, who was interviewed by child forensic interviewers, said he saw his “Daddy and Bubba (McClendon)” walk by his grandmother’s bedroom where he was watching TV, court records show.
The boy said his grandmother told him he could not come out of the room and not to tell anybody he saw his father, records show.
He said his father asked him for a grocery bag to put some clothes in.
The boy’s mother, Asha Currie, has also been arrested for obstructing justice. She is being held without bond on a probation violation, jail officials said.