2 Calif. inmates climb through ceiling, wall to escape jail

The inmates made an eight-inch wide hole in a blind spot, escaped through a section of construction fencing outside the jail

Associated Press

MONTEREY, Calif. — Two inmates charged with murder broke out of a California jail over the weekend after climbing through a hole they made in a bathroom ceiling of their housing unit and then squeezing through a wall before finding an escape hatch, authorities said Monday.

Santos Fonseca, 21, and Jonathan Salazar, 20, made the hole measuring about 8 inches (20 centimeters) tall and 22 inches (56 centimeters) wide in the guards' blind spot and then slipped into the walls of the jail Sunday in the city of Salinas, Monterey County sheriff's Capt. John Thornburg said.

Inside the wall, the two inmates maneuvered past ducts and pipes in a maintenance access area until they reached a hatch. They kicked it open and made it to an outdoor area that was covered in construction fencing, rather than security fencing with barbed wire, Thornburg said.

"We consider them dangerous," he said. "Please dial 911 if anybody does see them or knows where they are."

Investigators have not yet determined how long they worked on making the hole or if anyone else helped them escape the jail in the farming city of about 160,000 people roughly 100 miles (160 kilometers) south of San Francisco. They were reported missing at 8:15 a.m. Sunday, Thornburg said.

There was another escape about five years ago, when an inmate climbed through a ventilation duct in a different housing unit, he said.

Fonseca and Salazar had been behind bars since last year and were awaiting trial on murder counts and "numerous other felony charges" in separate cases, authorities said.

Associated Press
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