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4 prison inmates escape Kan. jail after transfer1 inmate captured in Neb. after 4 escape Kan. jail following transfer due to prison crowding
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) ' A convicted murderer and another inmate who escaped from a Kansas jail after being transferred there because of overcrowding at a state prison remained at large Wednesday evening, while two others were apprehended, one of them in Nebraska.
The Kansas Highway Patrol reported that the four men escaped from the Ottawa County Jail in Minneapolis, a small town about 120 miles west of Topeka, at about 4:45 a.m. One was quickly apprehended and the other was taken into custody hours later. The two still at large are Santos Carrera-Morales and Eric James, both 22.
Kansas Department of Corrections spokesman Jeremy Barclay said 21-year-old Drew Wade was alone when he was taken into custody around 5:30 p.m. in North Platte, Neb. Wade had traveled in a minivan to the Nebraska town, about 240 miles northwest of the Kansas jail, Barclay said.
"He might have turned himself in, but I don't have any details," Barclay said.
Barclay said the other two inmates may have been traveling in another vehicle or may have separated by Wednesday evening.
In escaping from the Kansas jail, the inmates were armed with homemade knives and overpowered guards after complaining about a broken water line in the holding cell area, Ottawa County Sheriff Keith Coleman told The Salina Journal. Coleman, who didn't return messages from The Associated Press, said the inmates were able to open the cell doors and make their way outside. The guards suffered only minor injuries.
The Ottawa County Jail passed an inspection before it was allowed to house prison inmates, Barclay said. The four men who escaped were among 22 inmates who had been transferred from the Ellsworth Correctional Facility in January to help alleviate the prison's overcrowding, which has been a prickly issue in Kansas in recent years.
Carrera-Morales was 17 when he and two other people were convicted of first-degree murder for the deaths of a teenager and young man in Sedgwick County in March 2007. Police in Wichita, where Carrera-Morales has ties, said all were documented gang members.
James was convicted of aggravated robbery, burglary, kidnapping and criminal damage charges across three counties for crimes in February 2008, while Wade was convicted of robbery and aggravated battery, according to online prison records. Records also show the three had numerous disciplinary issues while behind bars.
"Whatever crimes they've committed are important to note, but in reality when they're trying to break free, there's no telling what could occur," Highway Patrol spokesman Ben Gardner said.
Barclay said Wade and the two inmates who remained at large had medium-security status and were deemed candidates for being housed outside the prison. He said the status is based on an evaluation of the individual when they enter the prison system.
Also contributing was John Hanna in Topeka.
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