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CLOVIS, N.M. -- Five of eight inmates who escaped from a county jail after shimmying up pipes and cutting a hole in the roof remained at large Tuesday and were considered dangerous. Among them were a convicted murderer and another man charged with murder.
The escape was discovered Sunday night. Federal, state and local authorities spent much of Monday interviewing the escapees' family members and friends. They searched homes in the Clovis area, near the Texas state line, as well as one in Albuquerque, District Attorney Matt Chandler said.
Investigators "are looking at every family and background friend of the suspects and they will continue to do that until they hopefully capture these individuals," Chandler said at news conference Monday. "To get tunnel vision on where one suspect might be going we could actually miss the lead on another one."
By Monday night, three of the original eight inmates had been captured.
Victor Apodaca was chased and captured not far from the jail soon after his escape; the sheriff's office gave no details on Apodaca's record. A tip led authorities to Raynaldo Enriquez in Lubbock, Texas, Chandler said. Enriquez, 19, had been previously charged with aggravated burglary, robbery, and assault and battery counts.
Another fugitive, Javier Zapata, 19, was recaptured by U.S. Marshals at 11:30 p.m. in Cactus, Texas. He had been jailed on charges of aggravated assault, shooting at a motor vehicle and child abuse.
Authorities believe all but two of the men still at large have separated, Curry County Sheriff Matt Murray said.
The eight were discovered missing when police saw two people in orange jumpsuits running near the jail, Murray said.
The inmates apparently had used handmade instruments to cut the hole in the roof near a skylight, he said. They gained access to the roof area by climbing plumbing pipes in a narrow space behind the wall of a shower unit.
Murray said it appeared some in the group used an evergreen tree near the building to break their falls to reach street level.
He said he didn't know whether any of the men have weapons. "They are dangerous individuals," he said.
One of the missing inmates was identified as Edward Salas, 23, who was sentenced to life in prison last month for the 2005 murder of a 10-year-old boy. Shots were fired through the child's bedroom window as he slept.
Salas was being held at the jail while awaiting transfer to state custody, authorities said.
Another escapee, 19-year-old Larry McClendon, was charged with murder and aggravated robbery in the January 2007 death of a store owner.
The other men at large and the charges against them are Victor Sotelo, 36, aggravated assault; Javier Zapata, 19, aggravated assault, shooting at a motor vehicle and child abuse; Michael England, 29, tampering with evidence and being a felon in possession of a firearm; and Louis Chavez, 18, aggravated burglary, tampering with evidence, receiving stolen property and extreme cruelty to animals.
An investigation into what led to the escape is ongoing, including reviewing tape from video surveillance cameras in the jail.