Three of six Merced County jail escapees caught, internal investigation underway

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Three of six inmates who escaped from the Merced County jail this weekend are still free Wednesday night, but deputies have caught three others, including a suspected murderer.

The sheriff is keeping some important details close to the vest to protect the investigation since there are still three men on the run right now.

But we got a peek at an internal investigation and a promise of more details to come.

Fabian Cruz Roman faced murder charges, the most serious for any of the six men who escaped the Merced County jail Saturday night.

U.S. Marshals arrested him and Andres Rodriguez, Jr., trying to cross the border to Mexico Tuesday.

Eduardo Ventura turned himself into the Firebaugh police chief.

But even as Merced County detectives expand their investigative net to catch the three remaining escapees, they're taking a hard look at how it happened in the first place.

Sheriff Vern Warnke says deputies have arrested some people who helped, and they're conducting an internal investigation.

He says they know what went wrong and they fixed it, but he can't discuss personnel issues.

"When the time comes, I'm going to stand out front and let you guys come at me and say 'Hey,' and I will tell you what happened and where the ball got dropped," said Sheriff Warnke.

The partial success of finding half the escaped inmates has put a lot of Merced County residents more at ease.

"It's really a relief," said Meghan Sweet. "I mean, I have dogs and an alarm system, but I'm really glad they caught three of them. They sound like really dangerous guys."

Law enforcement is still sweeping the area and looking for leads.

Sheriff Warnke says Jorge Barron, Manuel Leon, and Gabriel Coronado should also be treated as armed and dangerous.

Coronado is facing an attempted murder charge with a possible life sentence.

"These guys can go into a desperation mode, carjack somebody, do a home invasion, you know, hurt somebody," said Merced County resident James Myrtue. "We don't know where they're at."

The sheriff says they're always concerned about a suspect trying to leave the country, but they have no indication that the three outstanding suspects are headed to the border.

Each of the suspects faces a possible extra 7 years for their escape.
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