Fugitive still at-large

By Christina Calloway

PNT senior writer

ccalloway@pntonline.com

An inmate who escaped from Roosevelt County’s jail and remained at-large late Monday night served time for second-degree

David Casanova: Courtesy photo This is the cell the three inmates escaped from Friday by creating a hole in the ceiling.

David Casanova: Courtesy photo
This is the cell the three inmates escaped from Friday by creating a hole in the ceiling.

murder in Colorado, according to the jail’s administrator.

Administrator David Casanova said he did not know the details of Robert Claudio’s case, which he said occurred in Colorado.

Claudio, 31, was being held at the jail on a charge of aggravated battery for a fight with a neighbor in August. He and two other inmates escaped late Friday night through the roof of the jail. The other inmates were captured a short time later in Portales.

Casanova said he learned Claudio was on parole on the murder charge after the escape.

Casanova said the escape was planned well in advance and he has reason to believe that the inmates contacted people on the outside about the escape, but declined to provide further details.

Friday’s escape is the second in three months from the facility. An escape on June 21 was similar in that inmates broke through the roof to escape.

David Casanova: Courtesy photo The jail’s ceiling is made from about two inches of stucco-like material and wire mesh.

David Casanova: Courtesy photo
The jail’s ceiling is made from about two inches of stucco-like material and wire mesh.

Casanova said Claudio, Abran Baeza, 22, and Noel Webb, 32, created a hole in the ceiling of the jail with a broken-off metal bunk bed leg and gained access to the roof. A video of their escape shows the men using a metal pipe to get down from the roof and then hopping a fence and running.

The jail will remain on lockdown until further notice, Casanova said.

Casanova said metal bunk beds are made up of parts and that the legs can be broken if the welds have failed over time. He also said the ceiling the inmates punctured is made of stucco-like material and wire mesh.

As part of the investigation, Casanova said had an officer pound on the roof to hear the noise it created to try and understand how the inmates were able to bang on the ceiling without others hearing or reporting it.

“It was hard to hear outside of the dayroom, it sounded like distant knocking,” Casanova said. “It was hard to distinguish what it was.”

Casanova will propose security upgrades to the Roosevelt County Commission at its next meeting on Oct. 15.

David Casanova: Courtesy photo Three inmates created this hole in the jail’s ceiling and gained access to the roof Friday night before fleeing the jail.

David Casanova: Courtesy photo
Three inmates created this hole in the jail’s ceiling and gained access to the roof Friday night before fleeing the jail.

The commission had tabled votes on two previous requests for security updates.

David Casanova: Courtesy photo This is the metal bunk bed leg used to create a hole in the ceiling of the jail in Friday’s escape.

David Casanova: Courtesy photo
This is the metal bunk bed leg used to create a hole in the ceiling of the jail in Friday’s escape.

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