Authorities locate detainee who escaped from Freeborn County detention center

Updated: July 23, 2019 10:24 PM

UPDATE: Authorities say a detainee who escaped from the Freeborn County Adult Detention Center has been located and is in custody.

According to a release from Freeborn County, Victor Nava-Urioste was located by Immigration and Customs Enforcement Officers in St. Paul Tuesday morning.


The release said officers initiated a traffic stop and that Nava-Urioste refused to pull over, leading to a pursuit. The pursuit later ended on a dead-end road, where Nava-Urioste then fled on foot.

He was later apprehended and taken into custody.

Nava-Urioste was being held at the jail at the request of ICE, “pending disposition of his immigration case.” The agency told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS he is an illegal immigrant from Mexico.

Spokesperson Shawn Neudauer said he has several pending criminal charges in Minnesota “to include misdemeanors and two felonies.” He was not able to provide details of the specific crimes.

The Freeborn County jail door Nava-Urioste used to escape had been unknowingly left unlocked, according to Sheriff Kurt Freitag.

“I’m not going to make any excuses, we dropped the ball,” he said. “We should’ve been doing better. We should’ve checked this door as well as all of the others but in this case we didn’t. We thought that door was closed and locked and it wasn’t.”

Sheriff Freitag said a sergeant had used the door as part of a routine security check on Saturday.

“Entered the jail, let the door shut behind him,” he said. “The sergeant knows master control is going to take care of the door.”

A deputy in the control room was responsible for making sure it locked by using a computer system.

“We believe that the deputy had pushed the unlock button instead of the lock button and then the deputy silenced the alarm thinking the right button was hit,” said Freitag.

He said it's rarely used so no one noticed.

When Nava-Urioste pushed on the door around noon on Monday, it opened right up. It took about five-and-a-half hours before deputies did a count and realized he was gone.

During that time, Nava-Urioste made his way across town to Graceland Cemetery. According to the sheriff, he stole the car of a woman watering flowers and headed towards the Twin Cities where he has family.

The jail currently holds about 67 detainees. Nava-Urioste was not considered dangerous.

When the sheriff looked back at security footage, he saw the man had tested the door on the day he arrived on July 15.

In other parts of the jail, Sheriff Freitag said, members of the sheriff’s office and inmates have to go through two doors. The door behind them has to lock before the next door unlocks. 

That's not the case with this exit. It's located in an area of the jail that was used for work release when it was built in the early 2000s. At that time, he said, it didn't need to be as secure. It’s now accessible to the general inmate population.

“That door is not the right kind of environment for these types of people,” said Sheriff Freitag. “We had a weakness and they exploited it and we can’t have that happen again.”

To prevent this from happening again, they are going to change door-locking procedures. Sheriff Freitag said they also plan to add motion sensors on the door and another alarm.

It’s unclear whether Nava-Urioste will return to the Freeborn County jail.

ICE Spokesperson Shawn Neudauer said the man is in ICE custody pending possible transfer to state or federal custody for any criminal charges.

Rochester TV station KAAL reports the Freeborn County Sheriff's Office is asking for the public's help in finding an escaped detainee.

Deputies said Victor Nava-Urioste was being held on an Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainer, according to KAAL-TV. 

Authorities noticed Nava-Urioste was missing around 5:30 p.m. Monday and said they believe he walked out of jail through a door that was typically locked but was unlatched at the time.

Video reportedly shows Nava-Urioste leaving the facility around 12 p.m. and walking across Broadway Avenue between Front Street and Pearl Street. 

U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement officers have been notified, KAAL-TV reports.

Meanwhile, Albert Lea police reportedly received a call Monday about a stolen 2003 silver Toyota Camry at Graceland Cemetery. The suspect description fit Nava-Urioste's description, according to authorities.

Nava-Urioste was last seen wearing a brown T-shirt and orange boxer shorts. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Freeborn County Sheriff's Office or ICE.

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KAAL-TV & Callan Gray

Copyright 2019 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company


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