2nd Inmate Who Escaped San Jose Jail Back in Custody

Two inmates who broke out of Santa Clara County jail the day before Thanksgiving will face additional charges after their re-capture.

A weeklong manhunt that reached up to the East Bay ended Wednesday night with flash-bang grenades, tear gas and the arrest of Rogelio Chavez after an eight-hour standoff in South San Jose. LaRon Campbell, his fellow escapee, was caught after crashing through the ceiling of his sister’s house in Antioch the day prior.

“I thank the incredible team of Sheriff’s Office detectives that have been working around the block on this arrest and the capture of the two fugitives, and captured within a week,” Sheriff Laurie Smith told reporters at a press conference Wednesday. “They’ve left no stone unturned and many, many sleepless nights.”

The two men escaped Nov. 23 by sawing through the bars of their second-story 20-person cell in the oldest part of the San Jose Main Jail and rappelling down knotted-together bedsheets. Two other inmates followed them out but were immediately recaptured, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

Campbell and Chavez, however, led authorities on a chase that included raids at a Gilroy motel, a beat-up RV and several homes. K-9s tracked their scent along local waterways as the offer of a $20,000 reward prompted a steady stream of tips from the public.

On Wednesday, officers on the search for Chavez closed in on a home close to Oak Grove High School where they believed the suspect was hiding out. Over the course of several hours, police threw tear gas into the home, where Chavez apparently spent his final hours of freedom high on crack and weed. The standoff ended around 8:30pm with deputies escorting Chavez out of the house in handcuffs.

Karla Fernandez, who lives at the house where Chavez was found, was also arrested on suspicion of obstructing an investigation and helping a fugitive escape. She was also accused of being a felon in possession of a gun.

Two other women were arrested on similar charges. Campbell’s sister, 24-year-old Marcaysha Alexander, was booked on suspicion of harboring a fugitive. Thirty-five-year-old Emily Vaca, a woman who was detained at the Gilroy motel where Chavez was believed to be hiding out Sunday night, was also arrested on suspicion of being an accessory to a crime.

Chavez was booked in jail on August on charges of burglary, false imprisonment and extortion. Campbell had been behind bars since February 2015 on similar charges.

After Chavez’s re-arrest Wednesday, the Sheriff’s Office tweeted mug shots of him and Campbell with the hashtag #captured. Authorities said the two men will no longer be held in a minimum-security cell, which is where they were housed when they escaped.

Jennifer Wadsworth is a staff writer for San Jose Inside and Metro Newspaper. Email tips to [email protected] or follow her on Twitter at @jennwadsworth.

5 Comments

  1. Perhaps a true investigative reporter would make the obvious nexus between a recent change at the jail and the ability to successfully get out… as it’s been decades since the last escape.

    It would seem violent felons like these two were (prior to the hunger strike and wholesale cancellation of confinement) more secure prior to Sheriff Smith’s feel good PR campaign to improve her failing image.

    Also, no comment on Chavez’ immediate use of meth (now a mere ticket) and marijuana (no crime)? There’s undisputed parallels between drug use and criminality- even when you decriminalize the possession and use of it. Rosen should be ashamed.

  2. > Rosen should be ashamed.

    Rosen should be indicted for “sanctuary city” and for nonfeasance for NOT arresting Mayor Liccardo, Chief of Police Garcia, County Supe Cortese and himself.

  3. “Sanctuary City Here We Come”, turn the criminal class loose on bail and lock up the politicians class for giving the finger to the law.
    That would definitely mean going tribal!

    What would the Donald do?

    • >What would the Donald do?

      Build that jail wall 10 feet higher, and make the inmates pay for it.

  4. One can only wonder what all the extra likely overtime, manhunt hours, $20K reward, raids, reassigned duties, and extra work that the sheriff’s poor oversight of the maximum security quarters of the county jail cost taxpayers. Certainly some surveillance cameras in the first place would have been more cost-effective.

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