Investigators following leads on whereabouts of escapees

Rewards are being offered for information leading to the arrests of four escaped inmates.

By Sharna Johnson: CNJ staff writer

District Attorney Matt Chandler said investigators are following up on “credible tips” in the last few days that have placed two of the four remaining jail escapees in Amarillo and Plainview, Texas, and Clovis.

Investigators believe Michael England, 29, has been traveling back and forth between the Amarillo area and Clovis, Chandler said Wednesday. He was spotted in Clovis and Amarillo in the last week, according to phone tips. Murder suspect Larry McClendon, 19, has been in the Amarillo and Plainview areas where he has family, Chandler said.

Investigators have information placing the other two jail fugitives, Edward Salas, 21, and Louis Chavez, 19, in Albuquerque since the Aug. 24 escape from the Curry County Adult Detention Center. Salas, a convicted killer, and Chavez were overheard before the escape talking about going to Albuquerque together, according to an investigative report from the district attorney’s office released Tuesday.

Undersheriff Wesley Waller said information received on Salas has pointed to several western states, including California, in addition to Albuquerque, where his parents live.

Police believe the escapees have help.

“We do believe that they are still receiving assistance (from friends and family) to conceal their locations,” Waller said.

The escape received national attention and has been featured twice on Fox TV’s “America’s Most Wanted.” Chandler said investigators have received 30 calls since the latest airing Saturday and have followed up on all of the close to 300 tips they have received in the month since the escape.

Area law enforcement is continuing to work closely with state and federal authorities, he said.

“We want citizens to remain on high alert that these escapees may be in their area,” he said.

The escapees should be considered armed and dangerous, he said.

Eight inmates escaped from the Curry County by climbing plumbing pipes and cutting a hole through the roof. Four have been captured.

Investigators have determined the inmates gained access to the locked plumbing chase through which they escaped by sneaking a key from detention officers who were repairing a clogged bathroom fixture in their pod.

Chandler said anyone with information can call Crime Stoppers and remain anonymous at 763-7000.

Rewards offered for information leading to an arrest:

• Edward Salas, up to $5,000

• Larry McClendon Jr., up to $5,000

• Michael England, up to $1,500

• Luis Chavez, up to $1,000

For more information on the escape, visit the Jail Break section at www.cnjonline.com