updated 9/26/2007 8:55:14 PM ET 2007-09-27T00:55:14

The jail where two convicted killers escaped last weekend had just one deputy and one other employee watching 120 inmates, authorities said.

The head of the Utah Department of Corrections, Tom Patterson, called the staffing level “a problem,” but Daggett County Sheriff Rick Ellsworth said he did not expect a change in manpower.

After visiting the jail Tuesday, Patterson said several problems contributed to the escape, including security cameras not recording properly and a technical glitch that allowed a door to remain open. He said the jail will remain locked down until the county addresses security concerns.

Juan Carlos Diaz-Arevalo, 27, and Danny Martin Gallegos, 49, were still on the run Wednesday. They scaled a fence Sunday and escaped from the jail, 120 miles east of Salt Lake City along the Wyoming border. They had been sent to the jail over the summer because of a lack of room in the state prison.

While on a recreation break in a courtyard, the men escaped by going through an unlocked back door, scaling a fence protected with razor wire to reach the roof, then jumping about 16 feet off the roof to freedom, Patterson said.

Ellsworth said the men were gone for more than three hours before anyone noticed, not six hours as first reported.

Some state corrections officials were told of the escape Sunday night, but Patterson said he learned of it only when he read online news reports Monday.

“It was one of those things — ’If I know, they must know,”’ he said.

Relatives of the murder victims also said they learned about the escape from news reports.

“I feel extremely upset that we didn’t notify families sooner,” Patterson said. “I’m grateful the media covered this, but my preference would have been to notify them ourselves.”

The father of Gallegos’ victim, Tammy Syndergaard, 18, is upset about the escape.

“He could either be running to be free or he could be running to get even with people. But I think he wants to choose freedom first,” said Jerry Syndergaard, 67.

© 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Discussion comments


Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments