Last of 9 Yakima Inmates Captured

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The last of nine jail inmates who escaped last month by breaking through a roof vent and climbing down a rope of bedsheets was captured Thursday, Yakima County Sheriff Ken Irwin said.

Luis Soto, 28, was taken into custody in the Sunnyside area, about 40 miles southeast of the jail in Yakima, sheriff's officers said.

Soto, who had been held on assault charges, escaped with eight others on Nov. 25. They cut through the ceiling of their fourth-floor housing unit, then kicked open a grated roof vent officials thought had been made escape-proof after a similar breakout in 1994.

Five inmates were captured on jail grounds, and two others — including a murder suspect — were caught the following day. The eighth surrendered Dec. 7 when officers surrounded a home.

The escape was the largest in the history of the downtown jail, which houses about 800 inmates.

A report recently found that outdated building design and overcrowding made the jail difficult for corrections officers to manage. It recommended the Yakima County use a new jail, which had been built at a cost of $20.6 million but was considered too expensive to operate. About 100 inmates have been transferred there for a trial period.