Last Thursday, while the rest of America sat down to Thanksgiving dinner, a female guard at the Lubbock County Juvenile Justice Center was fighting for her life. 16 year-old Juan DeLeon, incarcerated for assaulting his girlfriend, would add even more violence to his record by the end of the day.
"We had a juvenile here locked in this isolation cell," said Center Director Les Brown. He has turned to the public to help find the teenager who viscously beat his guard. According to Brown, DeLeon asked for some tissues, and when the officer opened the door, "He pushed the door out, knocking her up against the wall, hitting her several times with his fist."
Then says Brown, DeLeon choked the guard until she was nearly unconscious, locking her in a supply closet, then stealing her keys, unlocking the secured exit. "Then, he's out on the parking lot and apparently locates her car and uses her car keys to escape," said Brown.
One week later, DeLeon is still on the run.
"We usually don't have escapees," said Lt. Lance Slack with the Lubbock Police Department. He says the DeLeon family has been cooperating with authorities. "The family has been very cooperative. I talked to the brother just the other day, and he was cooperative, and I think the father said that he had had a phone conversation at one time and asked him to turn himself in. And they've been cooperative with us as far as we can tell."
And while police hunt for DeLeon, the guard from the Juvenile Justice Center continues to recuperate at home, thankful to be alive.