Littlefield Inmates Escape with Inside Help - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

9/10/04

Littlefield Inmates Escape with Inside Help

Lamb County Sheriff Lamb County Sheriff
Lamb County Sheriff Lamb County Sheriff

Littlefield police arrested five people involved in a prison break at the Bill Clayton Detention Center, a private facility in Littlefield. So far, their investigation has led them to believe two female prison guards, Iyvonne Delagarza and Tammy Harper, may be involved. Janet Simmons' daughter works at the prison with one of the women who is suspected.

At around 9:30 Thursday night, 35-year-old Michael Solis and 22-year-old Jeremiah Zupko cut their way through two layers of fence and razor wire using some kind of cutting tool. Police say they are investigating how the inmates got the tool.

Police say they had a hunch where the inmates ran. Their hunch led them to a house in Amherst, just seven miles Northwest of Littlefield. Sure enough, they were right.

At 3 a.m., SWAT teams wielded rifles and barricaded the house. Soon, police found the two men hiding in the attic. Solis and Zupko were arrested. So was the female guard Harper and 33-year-old Robert Sandoval, Delagarza's brother.

The second female prison guard was arrested at Bill Clayton Detention Center during her early morning shift at the prison. Police have not figured out a motive for the prison break and why these two female guards would have reason to help them.

The inmates initially were serving time for selling methemphetamines and heroin in Wyoming. The Texas Rangers are investigating to see if any more people might be involved in the escape.

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