Freedom New Mexico
An inmate at the Roosevelt County Detention Center escaped and was recaptured about 1 1/2 hours later Thursday afternoon.
Oracio Ornelas, 28, was missing from the detention center, according to Roosevelt County Sheriff Darren Hooker. Ornelas was a trustee, meaning he had extra freedom to do chores around the facility.
Before he escaped, Ornelas was being held for aggravated fleeing, false imprisonment, driving while intoxicated, battery against a household member and driving with a suspended or revoked license.
“One of the detention center staff noticed that Ornelas was gone,” Hooker said. “He immediately contacted the sheriff’s office, and deputies responded to the jail.”
Deputies talked to people in the area who said they saw Ornelas leave in a green mini-van, Hooker said. Deputies and Portales police officers also checked out the last known addresses for Ornelas.
Portales police found the green mini-van driving around town and talked to the driver, 30-year-old Amanda Ellis, who admitted to taking Ornelas from the detention center, Hooker said.
He said Ellis is a friend of Ornelas.
“Police took her, and she later showed them where she dropped him off,” Hooker said. “At that time, he came out from around the corner of the house (in the 500 block of East Amazon Street). He was taken into custody without incident.”
A warrant is being sought on Ornelas for escape, and the female will be charged assisting in escape from custody, Hooker said. Ellis is being held on a $50,000 cash-only bond, and Ornelas is being on a $10,000 cash-only bond.
“When someone is placed in a trustee status they are not considered a flight risk,” Hooker said. “Unfortunately this gentlemen should not have been a trustee. I am speaking on behalf of the sheriff’s office, not the detention center, but he should not have been a trustee.”
Detention center interim administrator Charles Perez was not available for comment.