Mother Lode Regional Juvenile Detention Facility

The Mother Regional Juvenile Detention Facility opened in April 2017 after more than a decade in development and cost $20 million to build.

An 18-year-old detainee from Bishop escaped from ​​the Mother Lode Regional Juvenile Detention Facility on Friday and was taken into custody again Sunday in Sonora.

It was the first escape of a detainee from the $20 million juvenile hall since it opened in April 2017, Chief Probation Officer Dan Hawks said on Monday.

Hawks declined to answer questions regarding how the young man escaped and why he was being detained at the facility in the first place.

“All I can really say at this point is that we are relieved that the youthful offender is safe and back in secure custody,” Hawks said in an email Monday afternoon. “As for your other questions, I can’t comment on them due to the confidential nature of the information.”

Chaaden Romo escaped from custody at the juvenile lockup at the new multimillion-dollar Law and Justice Center campus off Old Wards Ferry Road about 7:45 p.m. Friday, the Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Office said in a public announcement on Saturday asking people to keep an eye out for him.

Romo was believed to have been seen later Friday night or early Saturday in front of Zane’s Iron Horse Lounge on South Washington Street in downtown Sonora and left before law enforcement arrived, the Sheriff’s Office said. 

The Sheriff’s Office issued a be-on-the-lookout, or BOLO, message about Romo’s suspected escape to other law enforcement agencies statewide.

On Sunday, someone spotted Romo near the Applebee’s off Sanguinetti Road, a few blocks from the Law and Justice Center. Deputies responded and caught Romo after a brief chase on foot, the Sheriff’s Office said.

Romo was booked into the Dambacher Detention Center for escaping from the juvenile lockup, a felony, and resisting arrest, a misdemeanor. 

A spokesman for the Sheriff’s Office on Monday referred questions about the incident to the county Probation Department.

Contact Guy McCarthy at gmccarthy@uniondemocrat.net or 770-0405. Follow him on Twitter at @GuyMcCarthy.