Authorities in Northern California are still on the hunt for three of the six inmates who escaped from Merced County Downtown Jail over the weekend, police confirmed in a press release.
Merced County Sheriff’s Office said that a preliminary investigation concluded the fugitives escaped the facility by using a “homemade rope to scale down the side of the jail” via the roof. Jail officials found the six inmates missing from their cells just before midnight on Jan. 10.
The fugitives have been described as Hispanic males between the ages of 19 and 22. A task force has been formed to track down and apprehend the escaped inmates.
The sheriff’s office updated the public on Tuesday that one of the fugitives identified as 22-year-old Edgar Ventura of Portland, Oregon was apprehended at about 3 p.m. without incident in the city of Firebaugh, about 40 miles south of the jail in Merced. He was being held on charges of felon in possession of a firearm, participation in a criminal street gang, and violation of probation, police said.
Two more fugitives, identified as 21-year-old Andres Nunez Rodriguez of Planada, California, and 22-year-old Fabian Cruz Roman of Los Banos, California, were apprehended about five hours after authorities managed to arrest Ventura in the San Diego area on Tuesday, according to an updated press release from the sheriff’s office.
Roman was held on charges of murder while Rodriguez was being held for attempted murder charges, shooting at an inhabited dwelling, participation in a criminal street gang, and felon in possession of a firearm, police said.
The sheriff’s office has provided detailed information, including a picture and charges, for the other three individuals still at large.
The youngest escaped inmate is from Atwater, California, and has been identified as 19-year-old Gabriel Coronado, who is 5 feet, 10 inches tall with black hair and brown eyes.
Coronado was jailed on charges of attempted murder, shooting at an inhabited dwelling, participation in a criminal street gang, felon in possession of a firearm, and violation of probation, police said.
Another fugitive at large is 20-year-old Jorge Barron, also from Atwater. He was jailed on a violation of probation charge and has been described as being 5 feet, 5 inches tall with black hair and brown eyes.
The third inmate has been identified as Manuel Leon, 21, of Vallejo, California. He was charged and held at the jail for a firearm assault, shooting at an inhabited dwelling, evading a peace officer, reckless driving, participation in a criminal street gang, and carrying a loaded firearm. Leon is 5 feet 10 inches tall with black hair and brown eyes.
The sheriff’s office added it will update the information when available while urging anyone with information about the escaped prisoners, or who has seen any of the escaped inmates not to approach them and call 911.