A Philadelphia prison official says a murder suspect who escaped on Thanksgiving had a pass allowing him in unauthorized areas and passed at least a dozen jail employees as he left the building.

Oscar Alvarado escaped from the Curran Fromhold Correctional Facility in northeast Philadelphia between 3 and 6 p.m. Thursday. Authorities continued their search Saturday.

Prison Commissioner Louis Giorla says that although Alvarado had no visitors on Thursday afternoon, he obtained an unauthorized pass allowing him access to the visitors' room.

Giorla also says Alvarado changed into street clothes instead of orange jumpsuits inmates are supposed to wear when they have visitors.

The 27-year-old was jailed on charges of gunning down a woman last year in Kensington.