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

Jail video shows inmate escape

Martinez-Arington left phone dangling from cord


Last updated 8/21/2018 at 8:58pm

CLOVIS - One minute, Kaitlyn Martinez-Arington was on the phone in the women's annex of the Curry County Detention Center. The next, she was running for freedom in an alley outside the jail.

Her escape maneuver Aug. 6 didn't last long, but neither did her time as a fugitive. Martinez-Arington, 25, was located within about 12 hours and two miles of her effort, but surveillance footage from the incident shows how quickly a brief opening can be exploited by one with eyes for freedom.

In video provided Tuesday to The News following an Inspection of Public Records Act request, the female inmate held at the jail since May is seen using a phone about 10 feet from "Door No. 34," which leads down a hallway to another door into the alley.

It was 10 minutes after 9 p.m., and Martinez-Arington had been on the phone a few minutes before a contract healthcare employee approached Door 34. Michelle Gray is at that door for about 20 seconds before exiting through it, and during that time the inmate faces the employee and the threshold dead-on. She looks over her shoulder once and strides directly to the door before it closes completely behind Gray, leaving the phone dangling from its cord.

Another video shows perspective from the outside. Moments after crossing Door 34, Gray opens the door to the alley but turns around before exiting.

It was at this moment that Gray, realizing she didn't hear the door behind her close, turns back to check it again. That's according to jail Administrator Mark Gallegos, who said Gray was face-to-face with the inmate when she turned around.

For almost 30 seconds, the two grapple with each other in the hallway between the two doors, said Gallegos. "Door No. 37," which exits the facility, is seen closing, then swaying open, then almost closing again and finally swinging wide open before a bolting Martinez-Arington, who flees off screen at 11 minutes after 9 p.m.

A few seconds later is Gray, who officials said was pushed over while being overpowered by the inmate.

Gallegos said video of the struggle in the hallway would be shared this week. A response time of less than two minutes is expected for staff in such situations, he said, but the move from Martinez-Arington still beat that fast enough for her temporary time on the lam.

In the future, staff will put a premium on ensuring doors close completely behind them, he added.

In addition to escape from jail, Martinez-Arington was also charged with battery against the employee, and remains back in the jail without bond while awaiting a court hearing Aug. 30.


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