HAGERSTOWN, Md. – State police continue to search Monday for a murder convict who escaped from a medium-security western Maryland state prison after jumping a fence.
Kandelario Garcia-Ramos, 23, is believed to have used clothing to cover a razor wire perimeter fence early Saturday morning as his unit was being moved to or from a dining hall at the Maryland Correctional Institution, corrections officials said.
The escaped inmate was not believed to be armed, but authorities said he should be considered dangerous and are warning motorists to be wary of hitchhikers.
Garcia-Ramos, who was serving the first year of a 40-year sentence for the December 2007 killing of his former boss at a Bladensburg tire shop, was wearing prison blue jeans at the time of the escape and may have been cut while going over the fence, corrections officials said.
Maryland State Police were notified of the escape by prison officials shortly before 10:30 a.m. and launched an immediate search with patrol troopers, K-9 units and a helicopter, state police spokesman Greg Shipley told the Hagerstown Herald-Mail.
Corrections spokesman Rick Binetti told the Herald-Mail the institution was put on lockdown as soon as the escape was discovered, and police were notified after the escape had been verified, which is standard procedure.
In a statement Saturday night, Patrick Moran, director of AFSCME Maryland, the union that represents state correctional officers, blamed the incident on staffing shortages.
"This security breach highlights the need for proper staffing ratios in state facilities particularly correctional institutions," Moran wrote. "It is vital that state budget concerns do not undercut public safety."