Clark County, NV – A convicted bombmaker who was reported as missing from a Las Vegas prison on Tuesday is actually believed to have escaped from the medium-security lockup late last week, the Nevada Department of Corrections (NDOC) has admitted.
Porfirio Duarte-Herrera, 42, was sentenced to life in prison for murder after a bomb he made and hid inside a coffee cup in 2007 exploded and killed a hot dog vendor outside the Luxor hotel on the Las Vegas Strip, KLAS reported.
He was serving his sentence at Southern Desert Correctional Center near Las Vegas, according to CBS News.
NDOC said they realized Duarte-Herrera was missing when they conducted a headcount at approximately 7 a.m. on Sept. 27, KLAS reported.
A search for the escaped killer got underway about an hour later.
We are actively assisting the U.S. Marshals in locating Nevada Department of Corrections escapee Porfirio Duarte-Herrera. He is a convicted murderer and should not be approached. If you see him, please dial 911 immediately.#PorfirioDuarteHerrera pic.twitter.com/A3uzZeRx67
— LVMPD (@LVMPD) September 28, 2022
Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak announced late Tuesday that Duarte-Herrera had actually been missing since Sept. 23, according to KVVU.
“This morning, my office was informed by the Nevada Department of Corrections that an inmate was reported as missing,” Sisolak said in a news release on Tuesday. “My Office later learned that upon further investigation by NDOC the inmate has been missing since early in the weekend.”
“This is unacceptable,” the outraged governor wrote.
“My Office has ordered NDOC to conduct and complete a thorough investigation into this event as quickly as possible. This kind of security lapse cannot be permitted and those responsible will be held accountable,” Sisolak continued. “NDOC continues to work with law enforcement officials in the pursuit of this inmate.”
He urged anyone with information about Duarte-Herrera’s whereabouts or the circumstances of his escape to call 911 immediately, KVVU reported.
Duarte-Herrera is five feet, four inches tall, weighs approximately 135 pounds, and has brown hair and brown eyes, according to CBS News.
#NOW: We’re at the Southern Desert Correctional Center NW of town where an inmate apparently escaped overnight.
Porfirio Duarte-Herrera was serving a life sentence for murder in the case of the 2007 Luxor pipe bombing.
Guards are posted at the entrance. pic.twitter.com/lGzLJuX3dO
— @SeanKTNV (@seanktnv) September 27, 2022
Investigators have not formally released any information regarding how the convicted killer managed to escape the medium-security facility.
But multiple sources said Duarte-Herrera created a dummy – which may have been constructed using cardboard – and placed it inside his cell to trick prison guards, according to KLAS.
The rural town of Indian Springs sits approximately 10 miles away from the prison and is the nearest community, KLAS reported.
“There’s so many kids around here that just run around and play. There’s so many empty trailers,” local resident William Tilghmen told the news outlet. “There’s really no police presence out here, so it’s a perfect place for him to hide out however long he wants.”
Duarte-Herrera is a native of Nicaragua, CBS News reported.
He was also convicted of an earlier bombing that took place outside a Las Vegas Home Depot store in 2006, according to KVUU.
His co-conspirator in the Las Vegas Strip bombing, 47-year-old Omar Rueda-Denvers, remained incarcerated at another Nevada prison on Tuesday.
Rueda-Denvers was sentenced to life after he was convicted of explosives offenses, murder, attempted murder, and other various charges, CBS News reported.
He is a native of Guatemala.
The victim of the fatal bombing, Willebaldo Dorantes Antonio, was dating Rueda-Denvers’ ex-girlfriend at the time of his murder, CBS News reported.