A convicted murderer was reported missing from Southern Desert Correctional Center in Indian Springs, Nev. on Tuesday, four days after he apparently escaped the facility. Porfirio Duarte-Herrera, who was sentenced to life in connection with a fatal 2007 bombing at the Luxor in Las Vegas, remains on the loose and should be considered “dangerous,” corrections officials warned.
Prison guards realized Duarte-Herrara was missing as of Tuesday morning. Then, on Tuesday evening, the Nevada Department of Corrections (NDOC) revealed that he had actually escaped the facility on Friday evening.
Initial NDOC statements suggested Duarte-Herrara fled the prison sometime before 7 a.m. Tuesday. At 1 p.m. Tuesday, officials announced he was on the loose. No details were released by prison officials as to how he left the secure facility.
It was revealed that Duarte-Herrera, 42, left some kind of cardboard dummy in his prison cell on Friday to mislead guards, KLAS, a local TV station, reported.
Duarte-Herrara was incarcerated in 2010 with no chance for parole after being convicted of a fatal 2007 bombing at the Luxor.
Governor Demands Accountability
News of the escape and the reporting delay raised the ire of Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak.
“This is unacceptable,” Sisolak said in a statement released late on Tuesday. He ordered the NDOC to undertake an investigation into the escape “as quickly as possible.
This kind of security lapse cannot be permitted and those responsible will be held accountable,” Sisolak added.
The prison is about 45 miles northwest of Las Vegas. Some residents who live about 10 miles from Southern Desert appeared concerned.
“There’s so many kids around here that just run around and play. There’s so many empty trailers,” resident William Tilghmen told KLAS.
There’s really no police presence out here, so it’s a perfect place for him to hide out however long he wants.”
The US Marshal’s Service and the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department remain on the watch for the missing inmate, according to news reports. Duarte-Herrera is 5-feet, 4-inches tall, weighs 135 pounds, and has brown eyes and brown hair.
Pipe Bomb Murder Plot
In 2010, Duarte-Herrera and a second defendant, Omar Rueda-Denvers, were convicted for the death of Willebaldo Dorantes Antonio. He was killed after a pipe bomb exploded on the Luxor Hotel & Casino’s parking garage roof.
At the conclusion of their trial, Duarte-Herrera and Rueda-Denvers were found guilty of murder by use of a deadly weapon and attempted murder by use of a deadly weapon.
The bomb was hidden in a coffee cup that was placed on top of the victim’s car, the Las Vegas Sun said. The bomb had a motion-activated trigger that was activated when Dorantes Antonio picked up the cup, authorities revealed. He was unaware the explosive device was inside.
Dorantes Antonio’s right hand was seriously injured from the explosion. A piece of metal also got lodged in his head, the Sun reported. His then-girlfriend, Caren Chali, was standing near the car at the time, but wasn’t hurt in the explosion.
Chali was Rueda-Denvers’ former girlfriend. The two had a daughter together, reports said. Rueda-Denvers was jealous of the new relationship between her and Dorantes Antonio, prosecutors revealed during the trial.
Prosecutors sought the death penalty for the two defendants, but both got life sentences without any chance of parole.
In 2019, a federal judge granted Rueda-Denvers a new trial because of improper court procedures. In a retrial last year, he was convicted of murder, attempted murder, and other charges.
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