Escapees captured near Las Vegas, N.M.

CNJ Staff

Two inmates who escaped from the DeBaca County Detention Center were recaptured on Saturday in Las Vegas, N.M., about 114 miles away, according to the DeBaca County Sheriff’s Department.

Barry Wright, 23, of Higgins, Texas, and Cody Jessup, 19, of Woodward, Okla., were sharing a cell when they overpowered a detention officer about 9 p.m. on Friday, officials said.

According to Lt. Vincent Rodriguez of the DeBaca County Sheriff’s Department, Wright and Jessup were walking toward Las Vegas on U.S. 84 north when a woman recognized them from news reports and contacted New Mexico State Police.

Rodriguez said confirmation of their arrests by state police was made about 1 p.m. Saturday.

The escapees were taken to the Las Vegas detention center, then transported to the Guadalupe County Correction Center in Santa Rosa, where they are being held on warrants, Rodriguez said.

He said charges are expected to be filed against the pair Monday in the 10th Judicial District Court.

Those charges will include escaping from jail and battery on a peace officer, he said.

Rodriguez said Jessup and Wright overpowered a guard Friday night with a mop handle when the guard opened their cell. He said the guard was not hurt but taken by surprise.They took his keys and opened the door and ran out, according to Rodriguez.

They stole a city vehicle from the Municipal Airport but it quickly ran out of gas, and they stole another vehicle from a ranch north of Fort Sumner, which they abandoned near Las Vegas, Rodriguez said.

Law enforcement from DeBaca, Curry, Roosevelt and Eddy counties and state police assisted with the manhunt as well as officers from the New Mexico State Penitentiary who used tracking dogs, according to Rodriguez.

“The support was just amazing,” he said.

Dispatcher Vera Herrera said authorities initially set up roadblocks around Fort Sumner to capture the escaped inmates.

Both men were originally arrested Thursday for allegedly stealing a vehicle, weapons and other property.

Wright also was charged with aggravated battery on an officer and being a felon in possession of a firearm, detention records show.

— The Associated Press contributed to this report.