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Prison escapee captured after 16 years

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Prison escapee Juan Salaz was captured in Mexico last week after spending the previous 16 years on the run.

Salaz escaped from the Garza East Unit in Beeville Texas on March 22, 1997. He climbed over three 16-foot fences topped with razor wire. He was serving three concurrent 35-year sentences for two counts of attempted capital murder of a police officer and aggravated kidnapping with a deadly weapon.

On April 2, 1995, Salaz and a co-defendant kidnapped a Hispanic man at gunpoint and demanded a ransom. When Houston Police arranged a ransom exchange, they attempted to apprehend Salaz and his co-defendant Soto Alvardo. Both men opened fire on the police officers. One officer suffered non-lethal injuries after he was shot in his body armor.

Investigators learned from confidential sources through the years that Salaz had fled to Mexico and was still hiding there.

"Salaz thought that he had eluded authorities by starting a new life in Mexico. He was wrong," said TDCJ Inspector General Bruce Toney. "This should be a reminder to those who think they can out run justice. We will never stop looking for you."

Salaz now faces a felony escape charge in addition to his original 35 year sentence. Salaz is an American citizen and is Mexican custody awaiting extradition.

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