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Escaped inmate sought

William Ferchland, Tribune staff writer

A Douglas County Jail inmate escaped custody Wednesday evening while emptying trash, fleeing toward Kahle community Park.

Authorities said Jose Luis Estrada Tufino, 35, poses no danger to the public. Tufino was serving a one-year term in jail after his March arrest on charges of burglary, possession of stolen property and destruction of property. 

Tufino earned the status as a trusty, meaning he could earn time off his sentence for good behavior while providing maintenance and other duties for the daily operations of the jail, said Sgt. Tom Mezzetta.



“It’s not a chain gang in any sense but they do come out and assist in work detail,” Mezzetta said.

Under the supervision of an officer, Tufino and another inmate were emptying trash outside the jail at 7 p.m. when Tufino fled.



“The officer, noting that Tufino had a good lead and unsure if the second inmate was a flight risk, took custody of the second inmate and returned to the jail facility,” Mezzetta stated. “All patrol units were notified immediately of the escape and converged on the area.”

Tufino was not wearing handcuffs. The search only netted the blue jail shirt discarded by Tufino as he ran into Kahle Park, according to Mezzetta.

A search dog was used but the scent was lost. Tufino had no permanent residence but has family and friends in South Lake Tahoe, Mezzetta said.

“I wouldn’t recommend anyone approaching him but we don’t consider him dangerous at this point,” Mezzetta said.

Tufino is described as a Hispanic male, 5-feet-5-inches tall, 150 pounds, brown eyes and black hair. He was wearing blue jeans, a white T-shirt and white tennis shoes.

Anyone with tips on Tufino’s whereabouts is asked to contact the Douglas County Sheriff’s Department at (775) 782-9911. If a sighting of Tufino occurs Mezzetta asks the person to call 911.


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