Escaped prisoner caught in Amarillo

By Sharna Johnson, Freedom New Mexico

A suspected killer who escaped from the Curry County jail six weeks ago was recaptured Saturday morning in Amarillo.

Larry McClendon Jr. was taken into custody after a brief chase around 9 a.m., near an apartment complex on West 57th Street, Curry County Undersheriff Wesley Waller said.

McClendon is the fifth of eight inmates who escaped on Aug. 24 to be recaptured.

A tip received through the FOX TV show “America’s Most Wanted” led authorities to conduct surveillance in the area where McClendon was captured, Waller said.

McClendon fled on foot when he saw the officers, but Waller said he was caught after a brief pursuit.

No one was injured in the capture.

District Attorney Matt Chandler said McClendon will be held in Amarillo until an extradition hearing is held at the begining of the week.

McClendon will have the opportunity to waive extradition, in which case he will be returned to Clovis, but if McClendon does not waive extradition, Chandler said his office will seek a governor’s warrant to bring him across state lines, a process which can take 30 to 60 days.

Melody Carter, who has issued pleas for her son to surrender through the media since the escape, said she was relieved to learn of her son’s capture.

“I feel better knowing that he’s alive,” she said.

Carter, of Hale Center, Texas, said she spoke to McClendon by phone about 11 p.m. on Friday when he called to ask her for medication he needed. He told her he was going to pick it up Monday, she said.

Hale Center is about 90 miles south of Amarillo.

Carter said she called U.S. marshals after she talked with her son to let authorities know he was in the Amarillo area.

“He was on the verge of turning himself in. … He was exhausted and he was tired and he didn’t want to go through this no more,” Carter said. “I called the marshals and left a message and I said, ‘he’s very close.’”

Chandler said he could not confirm if authorities received a call from Carter prior to the capture.

Carter said she has been consumed with fear and worry, waiting for her son to be caught.

“(When the escape happened) the U.S. marshals came to my house and they searched my house and they told me they were going to bring him in. … I told them he’s my son, he’s not violent. That’s why I was working with them, so we could get him in safely.”

Three escapees still remain at large – convicted killer Edward Salas, 21, Michael England, 29, and Louis Chavez, 18.

The last capture in the case took place four days after the escape.

McClendon was in jail awaiting trial on first-degree murder charges in connection with the 2007 shooting death of 36-year-old second-hand store owner Emmett Salisbury.

Carter said she is hopeful her son will be found innocent in the shooting death.

Carter said her son understands there will be penalties for the escape and still has a long road ahead of him with the pending homicide trial.

“I’m relieved (he’s been caught) but he’s (still) got to go through these court proceedings and I’m going to be there for him to do that,” she said.

“He’s innocent until proven guilty and he’s innocent from that murder.”

The eight escapees got out of the jail by shimmying up plumbing pipes and cutting a hole in the roof on Aug. 24.