LAS VEGAS (KLAS)– Nearly a week after a convicted murderer escaped a Southern Nevada prison, inside sources said there were operational oversights that allowed his escape to happen.

Porfirio Duarte-Herrera was serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole at the Southern Desert Correctional Center for a 2007 murder that killed one man inside the Luxor parking lot.

The facility, around 40 miles northwest of Las Vegas, determined the Nicaragua native was missing on Friday. Investigators at 8 News Now broke the story the following Tuesday morning, when the Nevada Department of Corrections (NDOC) initially stated, then backtracked, that he was found missing Tuesday morning. 

Inside sources tell 8 News Now investigators that the inmate used acid to erode his cell’s window covering to create a large enough gap to climb out of. He allegedly left behind a cardboard dummy in his place.

To escape the property, sources said he was able to navigate two barbed wire fences by using a jacket he sewed together in a prison class.

A lack of operational oversight, facility maintenance, and proper staffing is what Paul Lunkwitz, president of the Fraternal Order of Police, believes made this escape possible. He said his union, which represents correctional officers in Nevada, has attempted unsuccessfully to address these concerns for years.

“The NDOC knew something like this was probably going to happen,” said Lunkwitz during a virtual interview Wednesday. “They have run these officers into the ground on mandatory overtime, short staffing them.”

The unit Duarte Herrera was held in, Lunkwitz said was the same location of a December riot that involved at least 40 inmates. He said two officers were staffed to monitor around 200 inmates, though “they rarely, if ever, have two officers in one unit.”

The guard towers nearby the unit have also not been staffed since 2020, said Lunkwitz. It’s what he believes helped the 42-year-old sneak past the perimeter and the nearby maximum security correctional center.

“That section of the fence is monitored by tower two, and they had no one up there until yesterday after this happened. Now I’m being told they’re manning all the towers, which, they weren’t manning tower two, three or four, to my knowledge,” said Lunkwitz. “They don’t have the staff to put in there because they can’t retain staff because they treat them so poorly.”