LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Nevada Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak said he was told a convicted murderer had escaped from a prison outside of Las Vegas on Tuesday morning – about four days after the man, who was captured Wednesday, is believed to have escaped.
“I was very upset,” Sisolak told 8 News Now Investigator David Charns on Thursday. “I was very disappointed that that’s what happened. They said it could have been as early as Friday. We don’t know, in fact, what happened.”
Porfirio Duarte-Herrera, 42, was serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole at the Southern Desert Correctional Center for the 2007 murder of Willebaldo Dorantes Antonio, who was 24. The prison is about 40 miles northwest of Las Vegas in the rural community of Indian Springs.
Porfirio Duarte-Herrera had climbed out of his cell window and over a barbed-wire fence, sources told the 8 News Now Investigators. He used acid to help erode the area securing his cell window so he could climb out, sources said, and also created a cardboard dummy to leave in his cell.
It remained unclear Thursday exactly when officers at the prison noticed Duarte-Herrera was missing.
Las Vegas Metro police arrested Duarte-Herrera in the area of Owens and Eastern avenues around 10 p.m. Wednesday. The 8 News Now Investigators first reported the arrest around 10:30 p.m.
The 8 News Now Investigators first reported the escape around 11 a.m. Tuesday. It was not until after 1 p.m. that NDOC officials issued a news release on the matter, confirming the 8 News Now Investigators’ earlier reporting.
Later that day, Sisolak issued a statement, saying Duarte-Herrera had actually escaped “early in the weekend.” Less than an hour later, NDOC officials issued an updated statement, saying Duarte-Herrera escaped Friday and not Tuesday as the department implied earlier.
“It seemed like they lied to you, because you said something different, and then they came out and said it was actually Friday,” Charns said to the governor.
“It seems like I didn’t get the whole story,” Sisolak said. “All of that is under investigation in terms of not just what happened, in terms of how it was communicated to me and law enforcement and to the general public. We will get to the bottom of what happened and appropriate action will be taken against anyone that was involved in it, believe me.”
“Do you think your own department is working against you and lying?” Charns asked.
“I don’t think they’re working against me. I think they were negligent in some areas here,” Sisolak said.
“Have there been any consequences for this department? Have there been any consequences for the director?” Charns asked.
“It’s been a difficult situation to get under control – this department,” Sisolak said. “I’ve spoken with the director on numerous occasions. We’re going to get to the bottom of what happened and determine what actions need to be taken moving forward to bring some stability to the Department of Corrections.”
Duarte-Herrera and Omar Rueda-Denvers were convicted in 2009 for killing Dorantes Antonio, who died when the bomb, hidden in a coffee cup, exploded. The incident happened at a parking garage at the Luxor hotel.
Dorantes Antonio was Rueda-Denvers’s ex-girlfriend’s new boyfriend.
8 News Now Investigator Vanessa Murphy has reported extensively on issues inside the department for nearly a year.
In December 2021, inmates at the Southern Desert Correctional Center, a medium-security prison caused a riot. Later that day, the department issued a press release calling what unfolded a disturbance.
In May, the 8 News Now Investigators uncovered disturbing details on how the department tried to downplay what unfolded. In July, William “Hutch” Hutchings stepped down from his position as warden.
Inmates attacked staff at High Desert State Prison on Aug. 31, but when contacted by the 8 News Now Investigators, the Nevada Department of Corrections would not provide details on what unfolded.
In early September, four correctional officers were accused of using unnecessary force during the riot. The Nevada Attorney General’s office filed charges against Paul Bowerman, Brayan Lopez, Quentin Murphy and Timothy Smith. A spokesman told the 8 News Now Investigators that the attorney general’s office was still evaluating whether any inmates would be charged in connection with the riot.
Earlier this month, Murphy reported on additional issues in High Desert State Prison. Two inmates at the prison died by suicide within 24 hours, according to documentation from the Clark County Coroner’s office.
The 8 News Now Investigators learned that the warden informed employees of changes inside the prison four days later, and the medical director of the Nevada Department of Corrections advised staff he was resigning five days later.
Last December, the 8 News Now Investigators exposed that there were multiple warning signs before an inmate was murdered at High Desert State Prison on March 14, 2021.
Less than three weeks before he would be released on parole, Isaiah Sharp, 21, was stabbed 96 times, according to the Clark County Coroner. His cellmate, Andrew Hilford, who was serving a life sentence for murder, had been repeatedly caught with a shank, and made threats of hurting somebody if he did not get the cellmate he wanted, saying, “Put in someone and we’ll see,” according to a case worker.
Another worker testified Sharp was placed in the cell the next month. After the 8 News Now Investigators uncovered the circumstances surrounding Sharp’s death, his family filed a lawsuit against the Nevada Department of Corrections.
The department had not issued a news release or statement about the Wednesday capture of Duarte-Herrera as of Thursday afternoon. Duarte-Herrera remains listed as escaped on the department’s website.