Two murder suspects who escaped from a Northern California jail by cutting a hole in a ceiling over the weekend were captured as they tried to cross from Mexico back over the US border, authorities said Wednesday.
Santos Samuel Fonseca, 21, and Jonathan Salazar, 20, were arrested by US Customs and Border Protection at around midnight Tuesday, said Capt. John Thornburg of the Monterey County Sheriff’s Office.
Investigators got a tip that the pair were in Tijuana, Mexico, and so notified CBP, he said. The escapees were arrested as they tried to walk back into the US.
Thornburg said he did not know how the two made it to Mexico or why they decided to return to the US.
Authorities reported Fonseca and Salazar missing from the Monterey County Adult Detention Facility on Sunday. The two inmates cut through the sheet rock and metal screen to make a 22-inch hole in the bathroom ceiling of their housing unit, Thornburg told reporters.
They then climbed through the ceiling and came down through a hatch that leads to a back door, he said. It appears they kicked the back door open and left the jail on foot.
Employees were not involved in helping the men escape, Thornburg said.
Fonseca and Salazar are being returned back to the same jail, which has undergone three security improvements since their escape.
“They are going to a separate housing unit where they will be housed alone,” Thornburg said. “We will take every precaution to make sure we do not have another escape.”
Thornburg said officials plan to file additional charges of escape against the men. They had been in custody since 2018, awaiting trial on unrelated murder charges and felony offenses, authorities said.