CLOVIS – The search for four escaped inmates is ongoing a week after eight men cut a hole in the roof of the jail and shimmied up plumbing pipes to freedom.
Still at large are convicted murderer Edward Salas, 21, and murder suspect Larry McClendon Jr., 19.
Also missing are Louis Chavez, 19 and Michael England, 29.
Four others were captured last week in Clovis, west Texas and Albuquerque, and are now back in jail.
Authorities spent the holiday weekend following up on tips from the public, District Attorney Matt Chandler said.
“Law enforcement received dozens of tips throughout the weekend — some of which were fruitful, some of which were not, but we appreciate them any way,” he said.
“We encourage the community to continue (calling as) all tips will be investigated.”
There have been signs of activity from the escapees, which police are tracking, he said, though he declined to elaborate.
Law enforcement remains optimistic that the four will be captured.
“Law enforcement are still going strong ... and we’re very optimistic and we will press on in the investigation until the four are returned to jail,” he said.
Chandler said the Major Crimes Unit, a consortium of state and local law enforcement, and the U.S. Marshals have been working out of the command center at the sheriff’s office 24-hours-a-day, focused on investigating tips and following up on leads.
Meanwhile patrols have been increased in the area and state police have brought reinforcements from Quay and De Baca counties to assist in patrols and searches.
And border patrol at the U.S.-Mexico border is on “high alert” for the fugitives, he said.
Last week law enforcement began arresting associates and family members of the escapes, including one escapee’s father and the mother of another, in addition to inmates who assisted the escapees inside the jail.
Arrests for assisting escapees or obstructing the investigation are now up to about a dozen, Chandler said.
“I’ll reiterate, if anyone assists in the efforts of an escapee, law enforcement will pursue charges for assisting in that escape and they will be prosecuted,” he said.