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16-year-old escapes from juvenile detention center

By ErinPradia
Oct. 1, 2011 at 5:01 a.m.

A 16-year-old escapee from the Victoria Regional Juvenile Justice Center is loaded into the back of a sheriff's deputy patrol  car on Anthony Street  on Saturday afternoon.

A 16-year-old boy escaped from the Victoria Regional Juvenile Justice Center on Saturday afternoon and was captured in little more than an hour.

Authorities said the Victoria boy scaled the 12-foot fence surrounding the center's recreational area at 3:18 p.m., said Chief Juvenile Probation Officer Pama Hencerling.

The teen draped his T-shirt over the razor and barbed wire at the top of the security fence to minimize cuts, Hencerling said.

The juvenile had been sentenced to a 180-day rehabilitation program for repeat violations of probation in a burglary case, of which he had already served about 5 months.

For the attempted escape, he will face an additional charge of escaping from a correctional facility and appear before a judge to determine what happens next.

He can either be sent back into the juvenile probation program for an extended period or he could be committed to the Texas Youth Commission Institution for an indefinite period, Hencerling said.

This is the first escape in more than a year from the justice center, which contracts with 50 surrounding counties to accommodate their juvenile offenders, she said.

Hencerling said she will investigate the incident on Monday, reviewing security footage and interviewing the staff member that was in the recreational yard and the other juveniles present at the time of the escape.

The Victoria Regional Juvenile Justice Center is required to report to the Texas State Juvenile Probation Commission, providing them with a full explanation about any escapes from the facility at 97 Foster Field Drive, near the Victoria Regional Airport.

The Victoria Sheriff's Office assisted by the Victoria Police Department arrested the escapee on Anthony Road near Lone Tree Road at 4:39 p.m.

Because the youth ran more than 4 miles in the heat, emergency service personnel examined him for signs of heat exhaustion and dehydration, said Victoria Sheriff Sgt. Robert Ontiveros, who coordinated search operations for the Sheriff's Office.

"The police department assisted us very well. When it comes down to it, we're all a team. Even the fire marshal pitched in," Ontiveros said. "The more people you can get in there in a situation like this, the more likely you are to be successful."

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