Sheriff: Human error led to jail escape

Mar. 18, 2013 @ 05:53 PM

Two inmates, facing child sex crimes, escaped jail with the help of pieces of metal, bed sheets and toothpaste.

Jose Alberto Hernandez, 35, and Jose Idel Sid, 36, are still on the run two days after they were first reported missing from a fourth-floor High Point jail cell.

During a press conference Monday, Sheriff BJ Barnes gave details about how the men escaped. He said Hernandez and Sid stuffed bedding under blankets so that it would appear that they were sleeping in their beds. The cellmates escaped Saturday afternoon through a 15-by-13 hole in the prison Plexiglas window by using pieces of metal taken from the ceiling vent in their cell. The men popped the rivets that were in the Plexiglas and replaced them with toothpaste so it would appear that they were still secure.

The men then cut through the Plexiglas and the metal that separated them from the outside. Once through, they used tied sheets to make the 30-foot drop to the building’s ledge. Then they jumped another 14 feet to the ground level.

Barnes said that the materials that were used to build the jail was not up to grade but human error was more to blame for the escape. The building is 25 years old and was not originally built to what Barnes calls “jail standards”.

“This did not happen overnight. They had time to work on this and make sure this was in place,” Barnes said. “There are policies and procedures in place that were not followed and we are following up on that as we speak. We are trying to determine exactly why it occurred and we will take the appropriate action once we have that established. This is definitely something that we don’t want to see happen again.”

Barnes said that he suspects that it will come down to more than one person being responsible for policies not being followed. He could not say if the employees would face reprimand, suspension or termination once the internal investigation was complete.

Guards are required to check on the inmates twice an hour but Barnes said that you have to keep in mind the culture of the jail.

“These guys are there 24/7 and have nothing to do but try to figure out how to get out,” Barnes said. “What it comes down to is that they have a watch system, they know when the guards are on site, what they’re doing and everything.”

Barnes said that the department is working on making the High Point jail more secure, including video surveillance.

“That is one of the first things that we started doing immediately, and will continue doing. We are going to be moving people around in the cells to make sure that if anybody has any long-term plans that we are going to interrupt them,” Barnes said.

Barnes said that the department is offering a $5,000 reward to find the two men.

“We are still looking for them and have some leads that we are following up on,” Barnes said. “We are looking for more leads that will lead to the arrest and capture of these suspects. There have been warrants issued and alerts put out all over the nation.”

Hernandez is 5 feet 6 inches tall and weighs 130 pounds. His last known address was 1500 Davis Ave. in High Point. He was in custody on charges of first-degree sex offense with a child and six counts of indecent liberties with a child.

Sid, also known as Jose Joaquin-Del Cid Sosa, is 5 feet 5 inches tall and weighs 145 pounds. He has a tattoo on his right arm that reads “AMOR.” His last known address was 203 Lansdowne St. in High Point. He was in custody for indecent liberties with a child and an immigration violation detention.

He had been in the jail since September.

Anyone with information is asked to call Col. Randy Powers at the 508-8834. | 888-3657