Governor Steve Sisolak requested the head of Nevada’s prison system to step down after a prisoner’s escape went unnoticed for days.
Nevada Department of Corrections Director Charles Daniels’ resignation comes amid tense debate over the state of Nevada’s prisons –including chronic staffing shortages.
Porfirio Duarte-Herrera was serving a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole. His escape from the Southern Desert Correctional Center went unnoticed prior to a head count on Sept. 27 – four days after he fled the facility.
The Nicaraguan man and accomplice were convicted of killing Willebaldo Dorantes Antonio in 2007. The pair left a homemade bomb in a coffee cup left on the man’s car at the Luxor hotel and casino.
After Duarte-Herrera’s picture was circulated to the public, a tip from an employee at a shuttle van company led to his capture. The public was warned to consider the escapee armed and dangerous. The employee is expected to receive the $30,000 reward, which had been raised from $5,000 hours before the capture.
Duarte-Herrera, 42, had obtained a ticket for a shuttle to Tijuana and was arrested at the depot of Las Vegas Shuttles around 9:30 PM on Sept. 28. A vehicle was scheduled to leave for Tijuana at 10 PM.
The Southern Desert Correctional Center is a medium-security prison near Highway 95 about 25 miles from Las Vegas.
Governor Sisolak called Duarte-Herrera ‘s escape “unacceptable” and ordered the Department of Corrections to investigate “as quickly as possible.”
“This kind of security lapse cannot be permitted and those responsible will be held accountable,” the governor said in a statement to KVVU-TV.
The second man involved in the bombing – Omar Rueda-Denvers, 47 – is still incarcerated at a different prison in the state.
In addition to Daniels’s termination, six other corrections officers have been placed on administrative leave.
Sisolak’s Republican challenger, Las Vegas Sheriff Joe Lombardo, held a press conference with a special agent from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the head of the US Marshall Service for Nevada on Sept. 29.
“The policies and procedure and all the failures that occurred (last) Friday and up to Tuesday need to be addressed,” Lombardo said, per The Reno Gazette-Journal. “Infrastructure issues and prison system staffing issues, the ability for this individual to do it — from what I’ve been told — as simply as he did it is a grave concern to me and the entire law enforcement community and the community as a whole.”