Inmates used vents to escape


CONEJOS — The appointment of former Conejos County Sheriff Robert Gurule on Friday, March 2, was made bittersweet shortly afterward when he was advised that two inmates had escaped earlier from the county jail.

Gurule’s appointment was announced at 9 a.m. March 2 and the inmates, Kyle Pauley and Lawrence Gonzales were discovered missing at 4:30 a.m. The jail staff reportedly didn’t think there was a sheriff until Gurule had been sworn in. Howard Galvez, Jr., resigned, effective March 2, at no specific time.

Martin Gonzales, 12th Judicial District Judge, swore Gurule in as sheriff.

Chris N. Crown remained undersheriff and is listed as such on the department’s letterhead.

His replacement was named after consultation with the County Sheriffs of Colorado by Conejos County Attorney Nicolas Sarmiento. The Conejos Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) approved a list of qualifications needed for a replacement.

Investigation into the inmates’ escape has revealed they escaped by utilizing a flaw in the building’s ventilation system.

Gurule reported steps have been taken to fortify the ventilation system to prevent further escapes. Security systems are also being updated to add high definition camera systems and additional camera views.

Pauley, described as a white male, six feet tall, weighing 160 pounds with blue eyes and blondish brown hair, faces charges of Aggravated Robbery F-3, 1st Degree Burglary F-3, Possession of Weapons by previous Offender F-5, menacing f-5, Theft M-2. Bond was set at $60,000 Cash Surety.

Gonzales, a 22-year-old Hispanic male, is five feet, nine inches tall and weighs 165 pounds, with black, short hair and brown eyes. He faces charges of intimidation, stalking and drug possession. No bond information is available.

Several posts on the Sanford Neighborhood Watch website indicated Pauley may have been seen Sunday near his home in Sanford, but law enforcement response wasn’t timely.

Pauley arrested on Wednesday, January 31st 2018 as a result of an investigation led by the Conejos County Sheriff’s Office into an armed robbery that occurred Tuesday, January 30th 2018 around 7:20 PM at County Line Liquor in La Jara, Colorado. While checking the area, patrol staff contacted a male party that appeared to match the description of the suspect that robbed the store and was identified as Kyle Pauley. While at the residence sheriff staff spoke with Pauley’s girlfriend, Jaimie Romero 26, who also resides at the residence. Obtaining a search warrant for Romero’s and Pauley’s residence, the sheriff’s office was able to collect evidence that suggested Pauley was involved in the robbery at the store in La Jara. Criminal charges of Theft M-1 and Second Degree Criminal Trespass M-3 were added to the already long list of criminal charges.

If the community has any tips, leads, or questions, please contact [email protected].

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