YUMA, AZ - After 17 days city officials have released new information about how a prisoner escaped from the custody of city court officers. They say Raul Dominguez broke out through a door that had a faulty lock on it.
City officials also admit the lock on this same door has been broken for six months. The door is located in the sally port. The sally port is located underground. It's an area where city court officers bring in prisoners for court hearings. It's supposed to be under lockdown once the prisoners arrive.
"I've been told it's six months," said Angela Graddy, City Court Administrator about the broken door.
KSWT News 13 asked when this broken door was reported to the city. "That's part of the administrative investigation. We don't know that yet at this time," said Dave Nash, City of Yuma Spokesperson. Nash did not address the issue any further. But he did confirm the sally port underneath city court is supposed to be a highly secured area equipped with surveillance cameras.
"We do know that the critical point of when the escape happened was in the area, secure area where the van goes to load prisoners and up to this facility, we can say that that's where the issue occurred," explained Nash.
We also learned today Dominguez hid underneath a transport van inside the sally port before escaping through the broken door. The city would not say how Dominguez managed to do so without being detected in an area with several surveillance cameras.
But we do know Dominguez was being transported to city court with nine other prisoners. He was wearing handcuffs and shackles around his ankles when he broke out.
As for changes to make sure no other prisoner escapes from city court again, the city claims it will do the following: moving forward, city court officers will only transport five prisoners at a time from the county detention center to city court. Again, Dominguez was one of ten prisoners being transported the day he escaped. Plus, prisoners who face felony charges, like Dominguez, will no longer be transported to city court. Instead - they'll face a judge via video.
As for the investigation, police say there is no indication it was an inside job. However, there are still many unanswered questions.
"It's nothing that has ever occurred here before," said Graddy.
City officials say it will continue to review its policies to make sure a prisoner does not escape from its custody again.
We asked city officials if anyone will be held accountable or face disciplinary action; they would not say.
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