3 escaped Merced County inmates arrested, 3 others remain on the run

Crime
February 07 2021 03:30 pm

MERCED, California (KGPE) – Two more inmates who escaped Merced County Jail over the weekend were re-captured Tuesday, according to an announcement by the Sheriff’s Office.

A total of three escaped inmates are back behind bars. Three others remain on the run.

According to an update from the Merced County Sheriff’s Office, at around 8:30 p.m. Andres Nunes Rodriguez Jr. and Fabian Cruz Roman were apprehended without incident in the San Diego Area.

They will join Edgar Eduardo Ventura, who was re-captured around 3 p.m. in Firebaugh.

Public records indicate Ventura was arrested in 2018 on charges of receiving a stolen vehicle. Merced County Sheriff Vern Warnke says he was in the jail awaiting trial for his charges in Merced County.

“He was from the Portland, Oregon area and he was in our custody on six felony charges with gang enhancements with firearm enhancements, street terrorism enforcement,” said Warnke.

As the search continues for the remaining three, so does the internal investigation into how the inmates escaped and why it took deputies up to eight hours to notice they were gone. 

“There could have been other issues, other areas that were overlooked, by personnel so we are addressing that,” said Sheriff Warnke.

Sheriff Warnke also points to structural issues at the jail which was built in 1968. He’s been pushing for a new jail for years. The escape may provide momentum.

“The supervisors’ office has been very supportive and have given me everything I need to make sure we catch these guys and moving forward to a possible, faster, new jail set up,” said Warnke.

Merced County Sheriff’s Office is working with agencies at the local, state, and federal level to try to arrest the other remaining escaped inmates.

The U.S. Marshals Service is offering a reward of up to $5,000 per inmate for any information that leads to their arrests. That tip line is 1-877-WANTED-2 (1-877-926-8332) or you can visit their website.

The Merced County Sheriff’s Office says the escaped inmates should be considered armed and dangerous.

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