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July 20, 2012 06:07 PM

Authorities Concerned About How Fugitive Escaped

Parker, SD

South Dakota authorities say the inmate who escaped from a prison-transport van last weekend walked past a sleeping guard.

Oscar Herrera-Menjivar fled from the van when it was stopped at a Spencer gas station and this new fact is keeping officials on high alert.

Herrera-Menjivar was being transported to Nebraska along with 12 other prisoners, when the private security company van stopped at the Fuel Mart near Spencer at 2 a.m. last Saturday. The driver went in to get some water and Herrera-Menjivar slipped past a dozing guard. With no sign of the prisoner after nearly one week, Friday's revelation about the circumstances of his escape isn't sitting well with those looking for him.

"Once we get them caught, we don't like to see them get away," Turner County Sheriff Byron Nogelmeier said.

Nogelmeier has been one of many searching for Herrera-Menjivar for the past six days. But learning about how the prisoner escaped is a new wrinkle he can't iron out.

"That is frustrating," Nogelmeier said. "They take on a responsibility and it's an important one as a private company to haul or extradite these prisoners."

Nogelmeier says he hasn't been in contact with the private transport company, but wonders how something that serious could happen.

"I can't say there's anger, but disappointment in a business that's trying to do business, but not in a very professional manner," Nogelmeier said.

Herrera-Menjivar reportedly approached a citizen on Wednesday in a non-confrontational manner. Nogelmeier believes, if more time passes, the fugitive won't be nearly as nice.

"The more and more desperate he becomes, the more and more desperate things he'll do, and that concerns me," Nogelmeier said.

Despite the concern, Nogelmeier says Friday was a quiet one in Turner County. But he reminds those around the area to remain vigilant and confident that Herrera-Menjivar will get caught.

"I can't believe, with all the publicity this has been given, that anybody would've given him a ride," Nogelmeier said.

Nogelmeier reiterated he believes the fugitive is more than likely resting during the day and traveling at night due to the heat.

If you have any information, he says not to hesitate and call authorities immediately.

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