Manhunt Underway for Shackled Convicts Who Escaped Prison Van, Now At Large
A New Mexico manhunt is underway for two dangerous convicts - one a murderer and the other an armed robber who shot a sheriff's deputy in the face - after they managed to flee a prison van while locked in body shackles, authorities said.
Joseph Cruz, 32, had been sentened to life for first-degree murder and Lionel Clah, 29, had been convicted of armed robbery and two counts of intent to commit a violent felony on a peace officer.
The two were wearing white paper jumpsuits most likely escaped around 8:30 p.m. Wednesday when the driver stopped to get gas while transporting prisoners from one correctional facility to another, authorities said.
They were reported missing when the transport vehicle arrived at a Las Cruces prison about 1 a.m. Thursday carrying three inmates instead of five, CBS affiliate KRQE-TV reported.
Officials said both men are considered armed and extremely dangerous and should not be approached. Authorities said they are investigating how the men escaped.
Surveillance video at an Albuquerque business captured the pair about 4:30 a.m., brazenly smiling at the camera and wearing street clothes and no shackles.
Clah, who is 5 feet, 11 inches tall, is Native American with a large feather tattooed on his cheek. Cruz is Hispanic, stands 5 feet, 5 inches and has "Alias" tatooed on the back of his neck.
Both men also have tattoos on their arms.