Search continues for 3 inmates still on the run from Merced County Jail


MERCED, California (KGPE) – Three of the six inmates who escaped the Merced County Jail over the weekend are back in custody – but a manhunt continues for the remaining three.

Still on the run are 19-year-old Gabriel Coronado and 20-year-old Jorge Barron, both are from Atwater, and 21-year-old Manuel Leon who is from Vallejo.

Merced County Sheriff’s Office believes the inmates may be getting help – but deputies are confident they will all be found. Of the captures, one was caught in Firebaugh and the other two in San Diego.

“They were apprehended as they were attempting to cross into Mexico,” said Merced County Sheriff Vern Warnke.

One of those now back in custody, 22-year-old Fabian Roman from Los Banos, is facing murder charges.

“Mr. Roman is in CDCR custody and he will remain with them as he was supposed to been with them regardless – but he was here pending another trial,” said Sheriff Warnke. “Mr. Rodriguez will be transferred back to our office.”

The inmates escaped sometime around 11:30 p.m. Saturday after gaining access to the roof. They used bedsheets tied together to scale down the 20-foot wall and were not discovered missing until about eight hours later – prompting an investigation and changes.

“The situation that allowed this to happen has been dealt with or fixed I should say, and the investigation is going to continue on as to what we’re going to do,” Warnke said.

The six inmates were in a nine-inmate cell and Warnke says the escape was well-planned.

“There’s no doubt at least six of them coordinated the effort and the other three in the cell knew it was going to happen, so yeah there was some communication,” Warnke said.

The U.S. Marshals Service is offering a reward of up to $5,000 per inmate for information leading to their arrest. All are considered armed and dangerous.

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