Piedmont Regional Jail inmates escape, search continues

Published 5:03 pm Monday, May 1, 2023

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FARMVILLE – The Virginia State Police, Farmville Police and Prince Edward County Sheriff’s Office, along with other agencies, are currently searching for two escaped inmates from Piedmont Regional Jail. According to Prince Edward County Sheriff Tony Epps, his department was notified of the escape at 4 a.m.  Monday. 

“We launched an immediate search of the area around the jail, utilizing a Virginia State Police helicopter, K9 officers and law enforcement from multiple agencies, but with no success,” Epps said. 

Epps identified the two men as 26-year old Alder Alfonso Marin-Sotelo and 44-year old Bruce Callahan. He said the pair escaped from the jail sometime over the weekend and remain at large. To be clear, this was not a joint escape. Officials from Piedmont Regional Jail say the two men left within 24 hours of each other. The first departed around 1 a.m. Sunday and the second of the escaped inmates around 11:30 p.m. Sunday.  It’s still unclear how both of the men escaped the jail. 

Marin-Sotelo, a Hispanic man with ties to North Carolina, had been convicted of unlawful possession of a firearm by an illegal alien. He is described as 5 feet, 6 inches tall, 150 pounds with black hair and brown eyes. Callahan, also from North Carolina, had been convicted of multiple federal drug charges. He is described as a white male, 5 feet, 10 inches tall, with black hair and brown eyes.

More on Marin-Sotelo

In addition to the crime for which he was serving time at Piedmont, Marin-Sotelo has been linked to the shooting death of a North Carolina deputy last summer. 

Marin-Sotelo and his older brother Arturo stand accused of shooting Wake County Deputy Ned Byrd, who, according to court records, was found outside his parked patrol car on Aug. 11, 2022. The K9 officer had been headed to training with his animal partner when he reported in that he was checking out a truck on the side of Battle Bridge Road. The dashcam video from his patrol car picked up audio from the scene. The court records say there were six gunshots and then the video picked up the truck driving off. Byrd had been shot four times, including three shots to the back of the head. 

When he was later arrested, Arturo told sheriff’s deputies he had been hunting deer in a field near Battle Bridge Road, armed with an AK-47, at the time of the murder. He claimed his younger brother Alder had been parking their truck on the side of the road. Court records show Arturo claimed he saw a police car pull up behind the vehicle and heard gunshots, then watched from the field as his brother drove away. 

Alder had been on the run since then, until being arrested and charged in Prince Edward County earlier this year. 

“I encourage folks in the area to remain vigilant and to please call 911 if you see anyone matching the descriptions of these two men,” Epps said. “We appreciate the support from our many law enforcement partners and the public, as we continue to search from these individuals.”