The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Jail officer charged with assisting escape

Clovis escapees still at large

 


CLOVIS — Friends and family of the Clovis detention officer arrested Saturday for assisting in the escape of three detainees said they were in disbelief.

Sarina Dodson, 28, of Clovis, was jailed early Saturday morning in Lubbock and accused of providing “inside assistance” toward the escape less than 24 hours earlier of Curry County Detention Center inmates Aaron Clark, Victor Apodaca and Ricky Sena, according to Sheriff Wesley Waller. The trio remained at large Saturday night.

Officials said Dodson worked at the jail the day of the escape and had been placed on administrative leave within an hour of the incident. Court records show the inmates left an outdoor recreation area through three secured doors.

One of Dodson’s past co-workers, who left the jail in March, said her friend and former colleague spoke with her in Lubbock on Friday afternoon about five hours after the jail break.

“She was scared, she was, you know, shaken up. They had sent her home on administrative leave,” Jennifer Baca told The News, stating that Dodson traveled to Lubbock to be with her mother and children. “She was scared, she was terrified, because she said she was going to go to prison. She was explaining that it looked bad on her.”

Baca didn’t find out about Dodson’ arrest until the next morning, news of which left her “shocked.” She said she believes in Dodson’s innocence, as did Dodson’s sister.

“I do know that Sarina took her job very seriously and I cannot see her doing something like this,” Trena Grass wrote in a message to The News. “I won’t comment further until the facts such as video evidence has been presented. Her family also wishes for everyone to please respect our privacy while we are dealing with this. ... This is a hard situation and we are trying to deal with this as a family.”

Grass declined additional comment.

Dodson worked at the jail since January 2017 according to Curry County Manager Lance Pyle.

She remained Saturday in the Lubbock County jail, charged with a third-degree felony for assisting escape, records show.

Waller said in a news release Saturday that an extensive search for the missing escapees was ongoing:

“Anyone with information concerning the escape or location of the escapees is asked to contact the Curry County Sheriff’s Office at 575-769-2335, or they can remain anonymous and be considered for a reward of up to $1000 by calling Curry County Crime Stoppers at 575-763-7000.”

Curry County Commissioner and former jail administrator Chet Spear told The News he was shocked like much of the community by Friday’s escape, but maintained support for jail staff.

“My very first concern is public safety, of course, and my impression is like anybody else: How could this happen?,” he told The News. “But it is what it is. ... We have to be right all the time. One mistake and they take advantage of it. That’s the nature of the beast. There isn’t a jail in the world that won’t have escapees. We’ve done well. ... We just have to find out what happened and we have to address that, cover those angles in the future.”

 

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