A $500 reward has been offered for information leading to the capture of a Tuolumne County man who escaped from a Southern California prison last Friday.
Daniel Salazar, 30, is still believed to be in Tuolumne County and is likely getting help from someone, said Vicky Waters, press secretary for the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
She said she could not give further information about how agents know he’s still in Tuolumne County or who might be helping him.
The reward was offered to keep public attention on the case to increase leads.
Waters said it is not particularly unusual for someone to be missing for almost a week. In October a convicted burglar, like Salazar a minimum security inmate, fled Deuel
Vocational Institution and was captured 18 days later in a motel in Tucson by the U.S. Marshal’s Service.
“Some we catch within an hour; others it takes longer,” she said.
During the past 40 years, the Department has found 99 percent of the inmates who have escaped, she said.
Earlier this week, Corrections Special Agent Arnold Cruz said the terrain has made it difficult to find Salazar. It’s not known whether he was staying outside, where temperatures have dropped into the 30s and 40s on some evenings recently.
On Nov. 3, Salazar stole a pickup truck from a firehouse at North Kern County State Prison. The truck was found unoccupied at 11 a.m. Saturday by a Tuolumne County Sheriff’s deputy on the side of Jamestown Road between Star Mobile Home Park and the Mother Lode Gun Club.
Cruz said Salazar was able to break into a box where keys for vehicles were stored and drive off from the minimum-security facility. There were no tools or weapons in the vehicle.
Salazar was serving a three-year, eight-month sentence for second-degree robbery and using someone else’s identification stemming from an incident in Tuolumne County.
He entered the prison system in August 2016. Salazar was scheduled to be released in March.
Two Sonora-area women said on social media that he was likely coming to Tuolumne County for his son.
Salazar was considered low risk and had been assigned to the 10-bed firehouse since December. His disappearance was discovered during a routine count about 9:10 p.m. that day. The prison is 188 miles from Sonora.
Salazar has short black hair, hazel eyes and weighs about 185 pounds.
“It’s a fluid situation,” Waters said. “We’re trying to get as many eyes on him as possible. We’re wanting to catch him to get him where he should be serving his time.”