VIDEO: 2 inmates who escaped San Jose jail found in attics, arrested within 24-hour span


SAN JOSE (BCN) — Two inmates who escaped from a San Jose jail the day before Thanksgiving were both found hidden in attics within a 24-hour span between Tuesday and Wednesday nights, Santa Clara County sheriff’s officials said.

Rogelio Chavez, 33, of San Jose, and Laron Campbell, 26, of Palo Alto, were captured roughly a week after they broke out from the Main Jail South facility on Nov. 23.

Three women accused of helping the men stay out of custody have been arrested since Monday.

Chavez was arrested at a Coy Drive residence in South San Jose shortly before 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, eight hours after deputies arrived to the scene to conduct a probation search on one of his associates, Sheriff Laurie Smith said Wednesday night at a news conference outside the Main Jail.

A SWAT team saw signs that someone was hiding in an attic and searched an apartment to find Chavez, who allegedly had narcotics and was under the influence, Smith said.

The 33-year-old inmate was transported to a hospital and was later booked into county jail without bail, sheriff’s officials said.

Deputies also arrested resident Karla Fernandez on suspicion of resisting and obstructing an investigation, being a felon in possession of a firearm and being an accessory to Chavez’s escape, Smith said.

The continuing investigation may lead to more arrests of people who kept Chavez away from law enforcement, according to Smith.

A tip led to the capture of Campbell at his sister’s Antioch home around 10 p.m. Tuesday when the U.S. Marshals Service and city police officers found him crash down from an attic to the floor, Undersheriff Carl Neusel said at a news conference Wednesday morning.

Campbell’s sister, Marcaysha Alexander, 24, was arrested for allegedly harboring a fugitive and was booked into the Elmwood Correctional Facility in Milpitas, Neusel said.

Chavez, Campbell and two other inmates escaped from Main Jail South on the night of Nov. 23 by cutting bars to a second-floor window. They then lowered themselves to the ground with bed sheets and clothing, sheriff’s officials said.

Two of the inmates were immediately located outside the jail and brought back to custody, according to the sheriff’s office.

The sheriff’s office will correct any needed changes to prevent future inmate escapes after reviewing its policies and procedures, Neusel said.

The county’s Board of Supervisors has approved purchasing surveillance cameras for the Main Jail South, an aging building that will eventually be demolished for a new correctional facility, according to Neusel.

Detectives received numerous tips after Smith announced a $20,000 reward last Friday for information leading to the arrests of Chavez and Campbell, Neusel said.

Deputies also conducted multiple operations, including one on Monday at a Days Inn in Gilroy where Emily Vaca, 35, of San Jose, was arrested for allegedly driving Chavez around in the county, according to the sheriff’s office.

On Wednesday afternoon, Vaca was arraigned on a felony charge of being an accessory to a felony and two allegations for past prison time, Santa Clara County Deputy District Attorney Janet Berry said.

Vaca, who faces a maximum five-year sentence if convicted, is scheduled for a plea hearing Dec. 9, Berry said.

Chavez had been at the jail since Aug. 17 for alleged burglary, extortion, false imprisonment, resisting arrest and firearms violations, sheriff’s officials said.

Campbell was booked at the jail on Feb. 12, 2015, on suspicion of robbery, false imprisonment, criminal threats and firearms violations, according to the sheriff’s office.

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