Convicted Vegas bombmaker was on the lam for four days

Sep 28, 2022, 3:15 PM | Updated: Sep 29, 2022, 7:35 pm

FILE - This undated photo provided by the Nevada Department of Corrections shows Porfirio Duarte-Herrera. Police have arrested the convicted bombmaker who escaped from a Nevada prison where he was serving a life sentence for a deadly 2007 explosion outside a Las Vegas Strip resort, authorities said. (Nevada Department of Corrections via AP, File)

(Nevada Department of Corrections via AP, File)

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Authorities say they are investigating how a convicted bombmaker was able to easily escape from a Nevada prison without anyone noticing for four days, before a tip led to his capture at a transit center in Las Vegas Wednesday night as he prepared to board a bus out of town.

State corrections officials didn’t realize until Tuesday that Porfirio Duarte-Herrera had escaped Sept. 23 from the medium-security prison where he was serving a life sentence for a deadly 2007 explosion outside a Las Vegas Strip resort.

Las Vegas police said they were informed Wednesday night that a person matching the description of Duarte-Herrera was in the area. Officers took the man into custody, confirmed he was Duarte-Herrera, 42, and arrested him, the department said.

“The policies and procedure and all the failures that occurred on Friday and up to Tuesday need to be addressed,” said Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo at a press conference Thursday.

Lombardo, a Republican who is trying to unseat Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak in November’s election, said he was imploring Sisolak to make good on his pledge to conduct a thorough investigation to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

“Infrastructure issues and prison system staffing issues, the ability for this individual to do it — from what I’ve been told — as simply as he did it is a grave concern to me and the entire law enforcement community and the community as a whole,” he said.

Lombardo, the U.S. Marshall for Nevada and an FBI special agent said it was the cooperation of numerous law enforcement agencies, extensive media coverage and ultimately a tip from the public that led to his capture.

“In this case, the individual had a four-day head start,” Lombardo said. “Fortunately, and unfortunately, he remained in the area and we were able to apprehend him with the assistance of the public.”

Lombardo told reporters Thursday any information about the escape itself will have to come from the Department of Corrections, “and hopefully they will provide you information shortly with the circumstances of the escape.” When asked by a reporter whether DOC was invited to participate in the joint law enforcement news conference, Lombardo said yes.

Department officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Thursday.

Sisolak ordered an investigation into the escape after he said late Tuesday his office learned Duarte-Herrera had been missing since early in the weekend.

The governor’s office said in a statement emailed to The Associated Press Thursday he is working directly with Department of Corrections Director Charles Daniels “to ensure swift action is taken to address the conduct which led to the escape.”

“Failure to follow protocol or procedures cannot be tolerated where public safety is at stake. Beyond this incident, addressing larger scale deficiencies in staffing remains a priority to the governor,” said Meghin Delaney, his communication’s director.

“Correctional institutions across the country are facing staffing shortages and NDOC is looking at innovative ways to increase recruitment at all facilities within this state,” she wrote.

Officials didn’t realize until Tuesday morning that he was missing during a head count at Southern Desert Correctional Center near Las Vegas.

Neither Lombardo nor Sisolak would comment on a KLAS-TV report citing unnamed sources that Duarte-Herrera used acid to help erode the area securing his cell window so he could climb out. That report also said he had created a cardboard dummy to leave in his cell, and sewed a coat in a prison class, which he took with him after his escape. Officials were investigating whether he had an accomplice.

Lombardo said he spoke with the inspector general’s office at the Department of Corrections, “and I have confidence they are going to get to the bottom of this and employ resources to prevent it from happening in the future.”

Duarte-Herrera, from Nicaragua, was convicted in 2010 of killing a hot dog stand vendor using a motion-activated bomb in a coffee cup atop a car parked at the Luxor hotel-casino.

Records show his co-defendant, Omar Rueda-Denvers, remains in custody. The 47-year-old from Guatemala is serving a life sentence at a different Nevada prison for murder, attempted murder, explosives and other charges.

A Clark County District Court jury spared both men from the death penalty in the slaying of Willebaldo Dorantes Antonio, whom prosecutors identified as the boyfriend of Rueda-Denvers’ ex-girlfriend.

Prosecutors said jealousy was the motive for the attack on the top deck of a two-story parking structure. The blast initially raised fears of a terrorist attack on the Strip.

Gary Schofield, U.S. Marshal for Nevada, said authorities were continuing to investigate where Duarte-Herrera was and what he did between the escape and when someone dropped him off near the transit center.

“He was able to get a little bit of money and a little bit of transportation just from specifically that area. … Mainly he just kind of laid low and tried to avoid the public, and tried to avoid law enforcement,” he said.

Schofield said state corrections officials initially notified the U.S. Marshal Service regional task force based in Los Angeles, which notified his office of the escape Tuesday afternoon.

“That was the first time any authorities within Nevada were aware of what was occurring out at the prison,” he said.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Shoppers looking for bargains enter an OshKosh children clothing store, Monday, Nov. 21, 2022, in M...
Anne D'Innocenzio and Cora Lewis, Associated Press

Shoppers hunt for deals but inflation makes bargains elusive

Consumers holding out for big deals -- and some much-needed relief from soaring costs on just about everything -- may be disappointed as they head into the busiest shopping season of the year.
18 hours ago
FILE - The Twitter splash page is seen on a digital device, Monday, April 25, 2022, in San Diego.  ...
Associated Press

Musk plans to relaunch Twitter premium service, again

Elon Musk said Friday that Twitter plans to relaunch its premium service that will offer different colored check marks to accounts next week.
18 hours ago
Wanda Farris, the mother of slain teenager Leesa Gray, second from right, is surrounded by supporte...
Associated Press

Judge mulls arguments in Mississippi death penalty protocol

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — A federal judge will decide whether to block Mississippi from using three drugs when it puts inmates to death, and his ruling could determine whether the state carries out its next execution in about two weeks. U.S. District Judge Henry Wingate heard several hours of arguments Monday in a lawsuit filed […]
18 hours ago
FILE - Birds take flight in the Salton Sea on the Sonny Bono Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge on...
Associated Press

Drying California lake to get $250M in drought funding

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The federal government said Monday it will spend $250 million over four years on environmental cleanup and restoration work around a drying Southern California lake that’s fed by the depleted Colorado River. The future of the Salton Sea, and who is financially responsible for it, has been a key issue in […]
18 hours ago
FILE - A school of fish swim above corals on Moore Reef in Gunggandji Sea Country off the coast of ...
Associated Press

Australia argues against ‘endangered’ Barrier Reef status

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Australia’s environment minister said Tuesday her government will lobby against UNESCO adding the Great Barrier Reef to a list of endangered World Heritage sites. Officials from the U.N. cultural agency and the International Union for Conservation of Nature released a report on Monday warning that without “ambitious, rapid and sustained” climate […]
18 hours ago
FILE - Dylan Brandt speaks at a news conference outside the federal courthouse in Little Rock, Ark....
Associated Press

Landmark trial over Arkansas youth gender care ban resumes

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — A psychiatrist called to the stand by Arkansas as the state defends its ban on gender-affirming care for children said Monday he was concerned about the impact the law could have on some transgender youth who would see their treatments cut off. Dr. Stephen Levine, a psychiatrist at Case Western […]
18 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

SHIBA WA...

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Swedish Cyberknife 900x506...

June is Men’s Health Month: Here’s Why It’s Important To Speak About Your Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men in the United States, on average, die five years earlier than women.
Convicted Vegas bombmaker was on the lam for four days