Inmate considered dangerous escapes from Merced County Jail

Deputies say David Coleman Jr. escaped early Thursday morning from the John Latoracca Correctional Facility should be considered dangerous.
April 3, 2014 12:00:00 AM PDT
The Merced County Sheriff's Office wants your help to find an inmate who escaped from a North Valley jail. Deputies say David Coleman Jr. escaped early Thursday morning from the John Latoracca Correctional Facility should be considered dangerous.

David Coleman Jr., 40, who is from Merced has a long rap sheet. Deputies say he's been arrested for weapons charges, for drug possession and for stealing. Investigators say before he escaped from the jail, his bail was set at over one million dollars.

Correctional officers discovered he was missing during an early morning head count. "Coleman escaped through the roofing area of the inmate housing quarters," said Delray Shelton. He added, "We do believe he was severely injured and this is a direct result of him probably being cut by the re-enforced fence which is made of barbed wire."

The sheriff's office has confirmed over the past five years, at least five inmates have escaped from the facility, including Felipe Valle-Lopez who got away in April, 2013 and hasn't been found since. Deputies say there's a huge strain on county jails right now because these buildings are forced to house more dangerous criminals under state law AB109 which was designed to ease overcrowding in the prison system by transferring inmates to county jail. "We never thought we would have to harden up the facility because we never intended to house high risk felons."

Construction is now underway to tighten up security at the facility.

If you see Coleman, deputies say do not approach him, instead call 911, immediately.


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