Escaped inmate still at large

By Christina Calloway
CMI staff writer

An inmate who escaped from Roosevelt County’s jail and remained at-large late Monday night served time for second-degree murder in Colorado, according to the jail’s administrator.

Administrator David Casanova said he did not know the details of Robert Claudio’s case, which he said occurred in Colorado.

Claudio, 31, was being held at the jail on a charge of aggravated battery for a fight with a neighbor in August. He and two other inmates escaped late Friday night through the roof of the jail. The other inmates were captured a short time later in Portales.

Casanova said he learned Claudio was on parole on the murder charge after the escape.

Casanova said the escape was planned well in advance and he has reason to believe that the inmates contacted people on the outside about the escape, but declined to provide further details.

Friday’s escape is the second in three months from the facility. An escape on June 21 was similar in that inmates broke through the roof to escape.

Casanova said Claudio, Abran Baeza, 22, and Noel Webb, 32, created a hole in the ceiling of the jail with a broken-off metal bunk bed leg and gained access to the roof. A video of their escape shows the men using a metal pipe to get down from the roof and then hopping a fence and running.

The jail will remain on lockdown until further notice, Casanova said.

Casanova said metal bunk beds are made up of parts and that the legs can be broken if the welds have failed over time. He also said the ceiling the inmates punctured is made of stucco-like material and wire mesh.

As part of the investigation, Casanova said had an officer pound on the roof to hear the noise it created to try and understand how the inmates were able to bang on the ceiling without others hearing or reporting it.

“It was hard to hear outside of the dayroom, it sounded like distant knocking,” Casanova said. “It was hard to distinguish what it was.”

Casanova will be propose security upgrades to the Roosevelt County Commission at its next meeting on Oct. 15.

The commission had tabled votes on two previous requests for security updates.