ELIZABETH, N.J. – Authorities have captured one of two inmates wanted in a daring jailbreak last month from the Union County Jail.
A team of federal and local law enforcement officers arrested Jose Espinosa without incident at about 9:20 p.m. in an apartment only six blocks away from the jail where he and Otis Blunt had escaped on Dec. 15, said James T. Plousis, U.S. Marshal for New Jersey.
Espinosa, 20, was alone at the time of arrest, Plousis said, and suffering from a leg injury sustained when he and Blunt jumped onto a lower roof, from which they leaped over a 25-foot-high fence topped with razor wire.
Plousis said authorities received a tip informing them of Espinosa's whereabouts, but he could not immediately provide details about where it came from or who received it.
Espinosa was being questioned Tuesday night by Union County police, Plousis said.
Authorities had no reason to believe that Blunt had been with Espinosa, Plousis said.
The daring escape by Espinosa and Blunt was the first breakout at the jail in Elizabeth since the facility opened in 1986.
The Union County Prosecutor's Office said the two inmates used photos of bikini-clad women to hide holes they dug through the cinderblock walls of their adjoining cells in a high-security unit.
The inmates left a cheeky note thanking one of their guards, Rudolph Zurick, for helping them, although authorities have said there was no evidence of assistance from Zurick, a corrections officer with a 14-year unblemished record.
Zurick committed suicide on Jan. 2, the day he was to speak to investigators about the escape. Zurick, 40, shot himself at his home in South Amboy and had been cooperating with the investigation, his lawyer said. He was buried on Monday.