June 21, 2024
The inmate was located with his girlfriend, who was also taken into custody for aiding in his escape, authorities said.

An inmate who escaped from San Benito County jail Tuesday was located and taken back into custody Wednesday evening, according to authorities.

Daniel Lopez Zavala, a 37-year-old resident of Hollister, was captured around 7 p.m. in San Jose, San Benito County Sheriff Eric Taylor said in a video shared to social media. He was taken into custody “without incident,” Taylor added.

Authorities also arrested Zavala’s 31-year-old girlfriend for aiding in his escape, Taylor said. Authorities are aware of more people who helped Zavala evade capture, Taylor added; he added a warning to them in the video that they would join Zavala in jail soon.

Zavala escaped the jail around 2 a.m. Tuesday by climbing over an 8-foot-tall barbed-wire fence, authorities said. He ran northeast away from the jail.

Zavala was not located during an initial search conducted by deputies and Hollister police officers. In a second search, canines picked up his smell and located his discarded pants in an open field. The canines then led officers to the 1800 block of Airway Drive, where officers believe he was picked up in a car.

Zavala has a history of criminal activity, with more than 30 arrests for gang, firearm, drug and violent charges spanning 21 years, authorities said in an advisory.

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The San Benito Sheriff’s Office has initiated an internal investigation to uncover what lead to Zavala’s escape, Taylor said in the video.

“We’re working on internal security measures to do everything we can to prevent this from reoccurring in the future,” Taylor said in the announcement of Zavala’s capture.

Zavala’s captures was aided by the Santa Cruz County Anti Crime Task Force and the San Jose Police Department, Taylor said. He also thanked the Special Intelligence Unit and CASPR Task Force.