Balto. County jail escapee arrested in N.Y.

Inmate who fled Feb. 16 held in assault, robbery

March 04, 2003|By Laura Barnhardt | Laura Barnhardt,SUN STAFF

The inmate who walked away from a Baltimore County Detention Center work detail during last month's record snowstorm was arrested Sunday on Long Island, N.Y., on charges of robbing and assaulting two men, authorities said yesterday.

Jose Pava Castillo, 23, and four other men were charged in an incident outside a gas station convenience store early Sunday in Nassau County, said Detective Sgt. James Tilton of the Nassau County Police Department. Initially, he told officers his name was Michael Miller and gave a local address, but a fingerprint check showed that he had escaped from the Towson jail Feb. 16, Tilton said.

Authorities in Baltimore and Nassau counties said it was unclear how long Castillo has been in the New York area. Castillo will be placed in a maximum-security unit at the Baltimore County Detention Center when he is returned, said James O'Neill, the county jail administrator. However, he will not be extradited until the charges are disposed of in Long Island.

Castillo, who had been awaiting trial on robbery, kidnapping and theft charges, was in a small group of inmates helping to load food on a truck for delivery to the women's detention center when he escaped. Detention center staff did not notice he was missing until about 45 minutes later, when a head count was taken.

Six detention center staff members have been faulted for the security breach, O'Neill said, adding: "Mistakes were made." He declined to say what disciplinary action was taken, calling it a personnel matter.

Baltimore County detectives from the internal affairs section are investigating whether Castillo acted with help from someone, said O'Neill.

Castillo is the first inmate to escape from the holding facility on Kenilworth Avenue in about 22 years, O'Neill said.

However, some Towson residents who live near the jail, which is in the midst of an expansion that will double its size, were concerned that the center has no formal system to notify them of escapes.

A citizens advisory panel is being formed. "A procedure for notifying residents will be our first order of business," said O'Neill, who is researching technologies, such as an automated telephone notification system, and costs.

After Castillo's escape, O'Neill personally called several nearby residents involved in neighborhood groups.

Castillo, who had no fixed address, was arrested in January and charged with abducting a 20-year-old woman in her car at a Royal Farms store in the 4300 block of Washington Blvd. in Halethorpe. Police said the woman was forced to withdraw more than $300 from nearby automated teller machines. The victim returned to the convenience store and called police, who arrested Castillo at Tim's Motel in the 4400 block of Washington Blvd.

Police in New York said the five men beat up two men - one of whom was also hit over the head with a bottle - about 2 a.m. Sunday in the village of Franklin Square. Three men were arrested shortly after the incident, Tilton said. Castillo and another man were arrested several hours later in the nearby town of North Valley Stream, about a block from the local police station, he said.

Castillo is being held at the Nassau County jail in East Meadow, N.Y.

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