Escaped inmate tracked, captured
October 17, 2012
After two weeks on the lam, a Storey County inmate who escaped on Oct. 1 is back in custody following a tip from a county resident.The tip came in at 3:30 p.m. on Monday, and by 5 p.m. Jeremy Morales was back in custody, according to the Storey County Sheriff’s Office.Sheriff Gerald Antinoro and two deputies went out to where the resident had spotted a man matching Morales’ description, in advance of a full search party.Morales, 38, had been spotted in the Gold Hill and American flats area, near the border of Lyon and Storey counties.“He had disappeared from where (the ATV rider) had originally seen him,” Antinoro said.The sheriff sent one deputy to check several possible hiding areas and another to meet with the search team, and then started searching the area himself. Antinoro was able to locate Morale’s footprints and tracked him for a quarter of a mile.“I’ve been tracking people for a long time,” he said.Once the authorities were onto his tracks, Morales was as good as caught.“He wasn’t going to get anywhere,” Antinoro said.Morales was found hiding in bushes, still in his jail clothing. However, he had blankets draped over this body like a poncho. His legs and feet were taped up with duct tape.“He actually blended in quite well with the terrain,” the sheriff said.“It appears he’s just been living like Osama bin Laden in spider holes, caves, whatever the case may be,” Antinoro said. “He definitely lost some weight in the last two weeks.”Morales fled the jail Oct. 1, the same day he was set to be sentenced on a child sex assault charge. Authorities said he hid in the shadows of his cell and then locked a deputy inside when she came to check on him. The deputy is on administrative leave pending the outcome of an internal investigation.Once outside, Morales got on the roof of a small building and was able to jump over a fence, about six feet away, that surrounds the facility, Antinoro said. Authorities believe Morales injured and may have broken a foot in the 15-foot fall over the fence to the hard-packed, rocky ground below. He was wearing striped jail garb and plastic shoes that Antinoro said are “really not too good for walking.” “They’re better for shuffling.”Morales hid out in the rugged Virginia Range, mostly likely living off fruit trees in people’s yards and whatever else he could find. He had a minor case of dehydration and minor injuries from his escape.“When we cut the duct tape off, it appears he may have broken something in the escape,” the sheriff said. “Arches of his feet were swollen and bruised. One leg he couldn’t even stand on.” He is being held at the Northern Nevada Correctional Center until his sentencing on Friday. Morales pleaded guilty to sexual assault of a minor and will be arraigned on the charge of escape, according to the Storey County Sheriff’s office.• The Associated Press contributed to this article.