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Convicted Murderer’s Daring Prison Escape Unveiled

By TheNevadaGlobeStaff, October 14, 2023 12:10 pm

Fresh revelations shed light on the intricate escape plan executed by Porfirio Duarte-Herrera, a convicted murderer who managed to evade captivity in September 2022. The Nevada Department of Corrections Office of the Inspector General recently disclosed their findings regarding the incident, providing a glimpse into the audacious scheme.

Duarte-Herrera, serving a life sentence for a murder committed with a deadly weapon, orchestrated his escape alongside an accomplice identified as Omar Denvers. Their joint criminal history included planting a pipe bomb on a vehicle parked at the Luxor in 2007, resulting in the tragic death of Willebaldo Antonio. Prosecutors described the bombing as a vengeful act due to Antonio’s romantic involvement with Denver’s ex-girlfriend.

The escape unfolded on September 23, 2022, at the Southern Desert Correctional Center in Indian Springs. As per the Inspector General’s report, Duarte-Herrera revealed during questioning that he made the decision to flee after his appeal was denied. He also highlighted a critical factor in his plan: the prison’s towers had been unmanned and non-operational for the past three years. Duarte-Herrera explicitly stated that he would not have attempted the escape if the towers had been functional, emphasizing his desire to avoid being shot. Furthermore, he informed investigators about the significant inmate-to-guard ratio, with approximately one guard or officer assigned to every 200 inmates.

To execute his escape, Duarte-Herrera employed meticulous engineering skills. He managed to erode or cut the metal surrounding a window slat, enabling it to break free from the frame. The report unveiled the discovery of a device, resembling a transducer or voltage reducer, alongside a bottle of Suave lotion. Research indicated that lotions, due to their chemical composition, possess remarkable electrical conductivity, making them useful in such scenarios.

During the interview, Duarte-Herrera disclosed that he had extensively studied chemical and engineering books while on an interstate compact in Arizona years earlier, acquiring knowledge on how to engineer various objects.

The report outlined the construction of a dummy using cardboard and towels, which Duarte-Herrera placed in his bed to deceive prison staff during headcounts. After dinner, he concealed himself behind a pony wall for approximately five hours before embarking on his daring escape. Duarte-Herrera described scaling three prison fences, one without barbed wire and two with barbed wire, within a span of four minutes. To protect his hands, he utilized leather gloves commonly worn by prison yard labor inmates.

Following his escape, Duarte-Herrera attempted to seek assistance from family members and friends, but most refused to aid him. However, one woman agreed to help, unaware of his true status. Duarte-Herrera deceived her by claiming he had completed his sentence, been discharged from prison, and had been walking for an extended period. She provided him with transportation to Nellis and Bonanza, as well as cash.

Duarte-Herrera recounted how he cleaned himself near a creek and rested upon reaching the area. He spent $120 on an identification card at a swap meet, purchased $40 worth of clothes from a Goodwill store near Stewart and Nellis, and secured a $101 bus ticket from Las Vegas Shuttles. His ultimate plan involved traveling by bus to Tijuana, Mexico, and eventually returning to Nicaragua to reunite with his family.

Notably, the Nevada Department of Corrections only discovered Duarte-Herrera’s absence during a headcount on September 27, four days after his escape. Subsequently, a widespread manhunt ensued, with Las Vegas police offering a $30,000 reward for information leading to his recapture.

The escape attempt took an unexpected turn when Duarte-Herrera arrived at a shuttle company for his journey to Tijuana. The manager, Gabriel Delgadilo, recognized him from a flier provided by the police and promptly alerted the authorities after reviewing surveillance footage. Law enforcement swiftly arrived at the scene and took Duarte-Herrera back into custody.

The incident prompted then-governor Steve Sisolak to demand the resignation of then-DOC director Charles Daniels. In response, William Gittere was appointed as the acting director. Additionally, six officers from the NDOC were placed on administrative leave pending further investigation.

Court records indicate that Duarte-Herrera now faces an additional charge for his escape. His next court appearance is scheduled for November 2.


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