By Sharna Johnson: CNJ staff writer
Jail escapee Michael England is trying to negotiate a surrender, but meanwhile, he may be hiding in the Clovis area disguised as a woman, according to law enforcement officials.
District Attorney Matt Chandler said England contacted investigators this week via an attorney and said he would turn himself in to authorities on the conditions that law enforcement drop charges against his mother, dismiss two drug trafficking charges against his brother, and return $3,000 seized by police during his brother’s arrest. Chandler said England wants to use the money for legal fees.
England’s mother, Hester England, was charged Aug. 27 with harboring or aiding a felon after police said she lied about having seen her son after he escaped from jail.
“Those aren’t demands that we’re willing to meet,” Chandler said Friday.
“We’ll continue to search high and low for him but at this point we’re not interested in negotiating deals of that nature with Michael England.”
Michael England, 29, is one of three inmates still at large after eight escaped Aug. 24 from the Curry County Adult Detention Center.
Investigators said they escaped by climbing water pipes inside a wall and cutting a hole in the roof.
Michael England was being held at the jail on a charge of tampering with evidence in connection with a 2007 homicide. The most recently captured escapee Larry McClendon, a childhood friend of England’s, was apprehended Oct. 4 in Amarillo. Law enforcement have said they believe the two fled the jail together. McClendon is charged with murder in the 2007 homicide.
Chandler said law enforcement is continuing to receive tips on the whereabouts of the remaining escapees.
Investigators believe England is in Clovis or the surrounding areas and may be disguising himself as a woman to avoid capture, according to Curry County Undersheriff Wesley Waller.
“(England and McClendon have) been seen in Clovis dressed in women’s attire,” he said.
The possibility of disguises surfaced in the initial phases of the investigation, he said, but over time those tips have become more credible.
The disguises include hairstyles, shoes, dresses and an effort to hide tattoos and other identifiable features, he said.
England is the second Clovis fugitive in about a week to attempt negotiating a conditional surrender.
Last week, Noe Torres, who has been on the run for three years after being indicted for first-degree murder in the 2005 shooting death of a 10-year-old boy, attempted to negotiate a surrender with authorities.
Torres wanted to surrender to the FOX TV show “America’s Most Wanted,” but was turned down.
Torres, 29, told officials he would surrender by the end of the first week in October but hasn’t been heard from since, Chandler said.
“I don’t know if they got the word out that we’re up for ‘let’s make a deal,’ but that’s not the case. … we’ll continue to search and follow through with every lead that comes in,” Chandler said.
Rewards are being offered for information leading to the arrest of the escapees and homicide suspect Noe Torres.
• Edward Salas, 21 — $5,000
• Michael England, 29 — $1,500
• Louis Chavez, 18 — $1,000
• Noe Torres, 29 — $5,000
Anyone with information can call the Curry County Crime Stoppers at 763-7000 or the Curry County Sheriff’s Office at 769-2335