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Search Continues For N.M. Escapees; 5 Other Prisoners At Large

July 8, 1987

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) _ The search for six New Mexico penitentiary escapees moved to the Canoncito area south of Santa Fe Tuesday after a woman reported being assaulted by two armed men and identified one as an escapee.

Corrections Department spokesman Don Caviness said the victim was shown pictures of the escapees and identified one of the assailants as David Gallegos, 33.

The woman who was attacked about 12 miles south of Santa Fe, said the assailants both carried portable radios. Caviness said it is assumed those were the radios taken from the prison control center when seven inmates escaped from the penitentiary Saturday night.

The woman, Yvonne Garcia, 19, was treated for a superficial laceration and rib injuries and probably would be released, said Charlie Cullen, spokesman for St. Vincent Hospital in Santa Fe.

She told the doctor that a man cut her arm with a knife, then kicked her in the ribs, Cullen said.

In Amarillo, Texas, meanwhile, police were investigating whether the New Mexico escapees were involved when three men beat a 30-year-old man in a parking lot early Tuesday, demanding his car keys, then fled when another auto approached.

The description of the men matched at least two, if not three, of the New Mexico escapees, officer Ralph Fletecher said. But officials declined to say which three fugitives may have been involved.

One of the escapees, Hector Torres Jr., was picked up Monday morning near The Downs at Santa Fe racetrack, 1 1/2 miles west of the prison.

In Texas, authorities recaptured the two convicts who stole a Department of Corrections truck and escaped Monday from the department’s Wynne Unit at Huntsville, crashing through two gates.

Jerry Wayne Ables, 28, was captured in Vidor, about 100 miles southeast of Huntsville, after abducting three people and holding up a fast-food restaurant, and Carl Lang, 44, surrendered Tuesday night at a lumber company about a mile from the prison unit.

Ables broke into a Huntsville home, stole a shirt, called a taxi and held the driver at knifepoint during an aimless four-hour drive, Huntsville police spokesman Robert Reese said.

Ables then fled on foot, abducted a Huntsville woman and ordered her to drive him to Lumberton, Orange County Sheriff’s Capt. Wayne Dial said. He abducted another woman at knifepoint in Hardin County and made her drive him to Vidor.

Neither the cab driver nor the two women was injured, Dial said. Ables was captured by police who had responded to a robbery report at the restaurant.

In Michigan, authorities continued searching Tuesday for three convicted killers who escaped Saturday from the State Prison of Southern Michigan at Jackson.

The wife of one of the inmates had come from her home in Pittsburgh to visit the prison hours before the breakout and was being sought for questioning, the FBI said.

The seven New Mexico inmates, including two convicted killers, escaped from the Penitentiary of New Mexico on Saturday night after overpowering one guard and wounding another.

Corrections Department officials have identified William Wayne Gilbert, whose death sentence was commuted last year, as the inmate who overpowered a guard with a gun.

Warden George Sullivan said he believed Gilbert and Robert Earl Davis, a former Albuquerque police officer serving 45 years for burglaries, escape and assault, orchestrated the breakout.

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