Twelve inmates organized a mass jailbreak… six are still on the run.
YAKIMA COUNTY, WA– Like many other states, we here in Washington have been placed on an order by the governor to stay at home. The idea is to have less people out and about and less of a chance for COVID-19 to spread as rapidly as it has been.
My husband, still a working police officer in Southwest Washington, has kept me updated on the goings on of our community while he’s out on patrol and I’m holed up with our children.
Essentially, he said:
“Nothing has changed.”
People are still out on the streets, still doing whatever they want basically. Which, honestly, sounds about right.
Meanwhile, 12 inmates at a jail in Yakima County, described as “low-level offenders” organized a mass jailbreak over Governor Inslee’s announcement.
Around 7pm Monday evening as the jailers were being fed, the inmates used tables to barricade doors and keep corrections officers out. The inmates then broke other tables and used the broken pieces to break open an exterior fire door, then climbed a fence to get outside the jail’s barriers.
Chief of Security Operations, Jeremy Welch, said:
“They were able to beat the security lock open and were able to access the outside through that door.”
— @ChiefMurrayYakimaPD (@ChiefMurrayYak1) March 24, 2020
Corrections officers notified County Deputies, who responded and caught six of the escapees right away.
The jail is just down the street from a fire station, and firefighters were able to take a break from their video games (I kid) and tackle one of the inmates, holding him there until police arrived and took custody.
Remaining at large are inmates:
- Tyrone Adam Mulvaney, 34 years old
- Andrew Derrick Wolfley, 26 years old
- Neftali Serrano, 27 years old
- Fernando Gustavo Casteneda-Sandoval, 31 years old
- Hugo Alejandro Amezcua-Hernandez, 28 years old
- Miguel Angel Chavez-Amezcua, 27 years old
The men above being held for charges including drugs, assault, obstructing officers, identity theft, car theft, illegal gun possession and one who was being held by order of a U.S. Marshal.
Yakima County Sheriff’s Office are the lead investigators on the missing inmates, and anyone with information is being asked to call (360) 574-2500, CrimeStoppers at (800) 248-9980 or www.crimestoppersyakco.org, or 911 if appropriate.
A reward is now also being offered for information that leads to any of the escapees being captured.
Casey Schilperoort from the Yakima County Sheriff’s Office said:
“The marshall service is now offering up to $1,000 for information leading to the capture of any one of the six.”
Inmates are likely wearing green shirts with YCDOC on them and dark sweatpants, with bare feet or orange sandals. Or at least they were wearing that when they first escaped.
Welch, mentioned above, said:
“The risk to the public is there, but at this time is deemed minimal, but still obviously use caution as any escaped inmate could still be considered dangerous.”
Yakima County Sheriff Robert Udell posted a video about the incident on Facebook. In it, he said:
“They decided they were going to break down the door and leave. Despite the governor’s shelter-in-place or stay-at-home order, apparently they didn’t want to do that so they are out and about.
We need your help to get these guys back in custody cause we don’t know what they’re going to be doing when we haven’t got our eyes on them.”
The Sheriff posited that the inmates were likely fearful of a COVID-19 outbreak in the jail, as there have been 41 people in Yakima County confirmed OR PRESUMED to have the virus.
I am positing that the offenders are using that as an excuse to attempt to seek freedom because, well, they’re criminals and don’t want to serve their time.
Four inmates in the Yakima County Jail have been tested for COVID-19, and all were found to be negative.
Ed Campbell, the director of the Yakima County Department of Corrections, said that none of the 800 inmates and staff have tested positive.
“We are continuing to monitor all in-custody inmates and if any show any signs would quarantine them in a negative air-flow unit and have them tested.”
Amazingly, this is the third jail break from Yakima County Jail in fifteen years.
In 2005, on Thanksgiving weekend, nine inmates escaped the jail through the ceiling. Inmates punched a hole in the ceiling of their fourth-floor housing unit to escape, and accessed a vent to the roof. They then used a rope of bedsheets to lower themselves to the roof of the one-story annex.
Of those escapees, four were immediately captured on the roof. The rest were recaptured over the next three weeks.
In April of 2017, two inmates escaped- one who was being held for burglary and grand theft, one assault with a firearm, aggravated battery, unlawful possession of a firearm, and resisting arrest- through an unsecured door leading from the inside recreational yard to the outside.
In September of 2017, two inmates being held on murder charges replicated the hole in the ceiling to attempt to escape. During an inspection, jailers noticed the hole and later also found a rope made out of bed sheets that amounted to over 150 feet.
Campbell, mentioned above, said at that time:
“The facility was hardened and steps were taken to eliminate the possibility of inmates escaping through the roof [after the escape of 2005]. [There are] security measures in place such that, there was no danger of these guys getting out or escaping.”
The facility is said to have had a $6 million security upgrade in recent years. Let’s hope that upgrade works better in the future.
Want to make sure you never miss a story from Law Enforcement Today? With so much “stuff” happening in the world on social media, it’s easy for things to get lost.
Make sure you click “following” and then click “see first” so you don’t miss a thing! (See image below.) Thanks for being a part of the LET family!