LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Nevada prison staff learned about the escape of a convicted murderer from a confidential source, according to an internal memo obtained by the 8 News Now Investigators.
The Nevada Department of Corrections originally said in a press release that staff learned about the escape during a count on Tuesday morning.
Porfirio Duarte-Herrera, 42, was serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole at the Southern Desert Correctional Center for the murder of Willebaldo Dorantes Antonio, who was 24. The medium-security prison is about 40 miles northwest of Las Vegas in the rural community of Indian Springs.
As the 8 News Now Investigators first reported last week, Duarte-Herrera escaped from the prison on Friday, Sept. 23. Prison officials did not alert the public about his escape until Tuesday, Sept. 27 — two hours after the 8 News Now Investigators’ reporting.
Las Vegas Metro police arrested Duarte-Herrera in the area of Owens and Eastern avenues near downtown Las Vegas around 10 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 28.
Since Duarte-Herrera was taken into custody, now-former Department of Corrections Director Charles Daniels resigned at Gov. Steve Sisolak’s request. Six corrections officers are also on paid administrative leave.
Duarte-Herrera was rebooked into the Ely State Prison, a maximum-security facility, records showed.
“For the NDOC, the security breakdowns that led to this escape represent the worst possible breach of our most fundamental mission objective — to protect the public,” acting prisons director William Gittere wrote in the memo. “We have already implemented many fundamental ‘back to basics’ security changes to ensure that a breach of this nature never happens again.”
Gittere also acknowledged staffing challenges in the memo, stating “it will mean even longer hours.”
The 8 News Now Investigators have also learned that the department is asking officers from the nearby High Desert State Prison to help with staffing at the Southern Desert Correctional Center.
The memo concluded, “…I know the officers and support personnel of this organization will meet the challenge and regain the trust of our friends, families, neighbors and the citizens of Nevada. They must know that we are rededicated and determined to protect them without exception.”
Duarte-Herrera and Omar Rueda-Denvers were convicted in 2009 for killing Dorantes Antonio, who died when a bomb, hidden in a coffee cup, exploded at the Luxor Las Vegas. The incident happened at a parking garage at the hotel in 2007. Dorantes Antonio was Rueda-Denvers’s ex-girlfriend’s new boyfriend.