Wednesday, January 9, 2008


N.J. prisoner recaptured after escape that left taunting note
From Deborah Feyerick, CNN

NEW YORK (CNN) -- One of two men who escaped from a county jail in New Jersey last month was back in custody, authorities said.

Federal and local authorities on Tuesday captured Jose Espinosa, 20, who broke out of the Union County Jail on December 15 with fellow inmate Otis Blunt, 32, Union County prosecutor Theodore J. Romankow said.

Acting on a tip, authorities found Espinosa about 9 p.m. Tuesday in an apartment six blocks from the jail, said James Plousis, U.S. marshal for New Jersey. Espinosa was alone in the residence, lying on a couch.

Investigators said they also arrested a "female associate" of Espinosa's. They identified her as Odalys Cortez, 19, of Hazleton, Pennsylvania, and said they plan to file criminal charges against her.

Officials said Espinosa and Blunt escaped by digging a hole through the cinder-block wall of their adjoining cells and hid the hole by using posters of bikini-clad women.

The two then jumped onto a roof and over a 25-foot-high razor wire fence onto a railroad bed. Authorities said Espinosa might have injured his foot making those jumps.

The two left behind dummies in their beds, along with a note thanking prison guard Rudolph Zurick "for the tools needed" and saying, "You're a real pal! Happy holidays."

Zurick committed suicide this week at his home in Sayreville, New Jersey. His attorney, Michael Mitzner, said Zurick had not been charged in the jailbreak and was cooperating with investigators.


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