EARLY, Texas (KTAB/KRBC)- Just before 3:00 p.m. Thursday, October 27, Brown County Jail inmate Sergio Castillo escaped from the Precinct 3 barn where he was assigned to work for the day. He was took back into custody 30 minutes later. But what happened, or rather, what didn’t happen during that half hour has one Early mother concerned.
“I’m a nurse. I was in Abilene at the time and I received a text message from my step dad that an inmate had escaped,” said Rachel Martinez, mother of an Early ISD student.
Martinez said she called her sons school, which was just minutes away from the barn, around 3:15 p.m. to check on the situation.
“The community wasn’t notified, the schools weren’t locked down, nothing. I was very angry, I was terrified,” Martinez recalled.
Though it is true there was no lock down, David Mercer, Early Chief of Police, said the situation was well under their control.
“At the time, I did not feel like there was a threat to the school and I didn’t want to put them in a panic,” said Mercer.
Mercer said since Castillo was headed north, away from town and the school, they saw no reason to panic the public.
“If we had reason to believe that he was headed toward the school, even from there, I probably would have been. But he was last seen by his guard going basically the opposite direction,” Mercer explained.
Both Mercer and the Early ISD assistant superintendent told KTAB/KRBC that they were in contact during the incident.
“I think everybody handled it very well. A perimeter around the area was set up very quickly, come to find out he had gotten in a vehicle with somebody very shortly after leaving,” said Mercer.
Castillo was taken into custody around 3:00 p.m. traveling down U.S. 183 South near Zeyphr, according to Mercer. U.S. 183 South does pass by the school, though it is not known if Castillo took that route to get there.
“It was just a matter of minutes before school let out, and there’s lines of cars of moms with their vehicles running and keys in the ignition… The second that he was free, he was at large. That’s the moment that the public became in danger, that’s the moment that we should have been notified,” Martinez said.
Although, Chief Mercer said getting Castillo in custody as quickly as possible was their top priority at the time, and notification would have happened in some capacity had the incident drawn on any longer.
“At that point, until we got more people and got the perimeter set up, I couldn’t really think about doing something like that, and they located him pretty quickly,” Mercer said.
Castillo has been charged with escape from custody, a third degree felony.