Here’s what we know about the jail escape
Published 1:00 pm Thursday, May 11, 2023
Now that both escapees from the Piedmont Regional Jail are in custody, questions still remain as to how they got out in the first place.
But first, yes, both men have been caught.Forty-four-year-old Bruce Callahan was captured shortly after 5:30 a.m. Monday, May 8, when he walked onto the campus of Longwood University and pulled a fire alarm.
“The inmate was injured and in poor health when he walked onto Lancer Park property and pulled an outdoor fire alarm,” Longwood University said in a statement. “He surrendered to police and asked for medical assistance.”
Longwood officials stated there is no indication that he had previously been on the university’s property since escaping the jail on Sunday, April 30. Longwood University police identified Callahan and reached out to Farmville Police, whose officers assisted in the arrest.
According to Prince Edward County Sheriff Tony Epps, Callahan stayed in the custody of the Sheriff’s Office until being turned over to U.S. Marshals later Monday morning.
The other escapee, Alder Marin-Sotelo, was arrested on Thursday, May 4, by Mexican authorities in the state of Guerrero. His sister, Adriana, was arrested and charged with conspiracy to instigate or assist escape, due to her role in buying the getaway vehicle. She had her first day in court last Friday, May 5.
There’s still much we don’t know about what he did after jumping into a red Mustang and driving away from Farmville early on Sunday, April 30. In a statement right after the arrest took place, FBI officials said this isn’t the end of the case.
“The investigation to determine his exact movements (before) and (after escape) is ongoing,” the statement said.
Since then, the FBI has also asked for help in locating that Mustang. They describe it as a red or burgundy 2003 Ford Mustang with a North Carolina 30-day temporary tag.
Alder was transported back to the United States, where he faces a number of charges. In addition to the federal weapons charges he faces, and now the charges of escape, Alder is one of two suspects in the murder of a Wake County sheriff’s deputy. That case has yet to go to trial.
HOW DID IT HAPPEN?
The biggest question that still remains is how did the escape happen. Piedmont Regional Jail put out a statement saying the escape was not due to a malfunction, as reported by some other media. “Initial findings suggest that the inmates were able to breach an exterior door at the facility,” the PRJ statement said. “While it is true that the Piedmont Regional Jail Authority Board has discussed dock lock replacement in previous meetings, such discussions pertained to interior doors in a different housing pod from which the inmates escaped.”
That part can be backed up through the minutes of the Authority Board’s meetings. In the Dec. 7 meeting, the group started discussing replacement of “the locking mechanisms in M & B, C & D pods.” However, the Authority Board says in their statement the escaped inmates were not in any of those four pods. From December through March, those are the only pods mentioned, either for updates on how the work is going or discussing any malfunctions.
It’s still unknown how the inmates escaped from their cells in the first place, then gaining access to and climbing over the fence. More than that, how did the two men manage to follow the same path out of the jail, despite working on it hours apart.
To be clear, the two men did not escape the jail together. While Alder escaped just after 1:40 a.m. Sunday, Callahan left the jail right after 11 p.m. that night.
The Authority Board also claims the FBI testimony involving what happened that day was slightly off. FBI agent Shaylin Laure testified in Adriana’s case, mapping out how two other people aided in Alder’s escape.
Laure said the agents started listening to calls made by a second inmate, who they don’t name in the documents as the investigation is ongoing. On Friday, April 28, this second inmate made two calls to a family member, arranging for the red Mustang, eventually used as the getaway vehicle, to be picked up in High Point, North Carolina.
During that second call, the inmate allegedly gave Adriana’s name and phone number, saying she had bought the car for $3,000 and was providing a temporary 30-day paper license plate. This family member was supposed to pick up the car from her and then have it in place near the jail by midnight on April 30. Those FBI filings claim it was this family member of the second inmate that dropped off the car in a jail parking lot, in exchange for a fee.
That fee, the FBI filings and court documents allege, was supposed to be paid by Adriana. On Saturday, April 29 at about 6:04 p.m., the court documents claim Adriana received a call from her brother Alder. He told her to meet the family member of this second inmate. Allegedly, she was to give this person the red Mustang. Then after the escape, she was to pay the person $2,500, the FBI filings allege.
A QUESTION ABOUT THE MUSTANG
According to the FBI and court documents, at 1:40 a.m. on Sunday, April 30, Alder is seen on video surveillance cameras climbing over the fence at the jail and escaping. Four hours later, at 5:40 a.m., Alder is again spotted on camera, this time climbing into the red Mustang in a jail parking lot and driving away.
Here’s where the Authority Board diverts from the FBI testimony. The board claims that the Mustang was never parked at the jail itself. In a statement, they say it was “not parked on jail property, but rather in a lot offsite.”
This goes against Laure’s testimony, as he claims on Saturday, April 29, the second inmate and his family member engaged in a video call. During this call, the family member was in the Piedmont Regional Jail parking lot and showed the red Mustang was being left there.
The Authority Board called a special meeting for 3 p.m. on Tuesday, May 9. The Gazette will be there to cover what’s said and we’ll have that information available later that night online.