Inmate serving life for fatal Luxor bombing used battery acid, dummy in prison escape, union says

Published: Sep. 28, 2022 at 11:49 PM PDT
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LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) - The prisoner that escaped from Southern Desert Correctional Center made a dummy and used battery acid to break down the window frame of his cell, according to the president of an organization that represents a portion of corrections officers in Nevada.

Paul Lunkwitz, the President of Fraternal Order of Police Nevada C.O., said Porfirio Duarte-Herrera then either hopped over a perimeter fence or went through it.

Lunkwitz said the tower that would have eyes on the unit Duarte-Herrera escaped from was unmanned and had been for a couple of years.

“Not only could that tower see the unit, but the tower could see the fence line where the damage was that allowed the inmate to get through,” the union president said.

The Nevada Department of Corrections said the medium-security inmate was reported missing at 7 a.m. Tuesday but believe he may have escaped as early as last Friday night.

“There are a lot of things that could have been avoided, and a lot of security measures that could take place that isn’t happening primarily due to staffing,” Lunkwitz said.

Gov. Steve Sisolak released a statement Tuesday that said in part, “This is unacceptable. My office has ordered NDOC to conduct and complete a thorough investigation into this event as quickly as possible. This kind of security lapse cannot be permitted and those responsible will be held accountable.”

Lunkwitz believes the problems stem from the top of the state.

“He hired the director. He knows how this department is being run. He knows those towers have not been staffed for as long as they haven’t been staffed for, and that’s a legislatively approved budgeted position,” Lunkwitz said.

The unit Duarte-Herrera escaped from includes 200 inmates, according to Lunkwitz. However, he said typically there’s just one officer working and often they’re on overtime.

Lunkwitz said the inmate did have a cellmate.

Records show the escaped prisoners codefendant in the 2007 murder remains in custody at another Nevada prison where he is serving a life sentence.