Escaped prisoner caught after nearly 16 years

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Juan Salaz

HOUSTON - An escaped prisoner is back behind bars after, detectives said, being on the run for nearly 16 years.

Juan Salaz, 37, was serving a 35-year sentences for two counts of attempted capital murder of a police officer and aggravated kidnapping with a deadly weapon.

In April 1995, officials said Salaz, along with an accomplice, kidnapped a man at gunpoint and demanded ransom. The Houston Police Department arranged for the ransom/victim exchange in Houston. During the exchange, officials said police identified themselves and were attempting to arrest the pair when Salaz and his accomplice opened fire. Officials said two officers were shot, but survived. Salaz was also injured in the gunfight.

Officials said Salaz escaped from a Beeville, Texas, prison in 1997. State officials said Salaz climbed over three 16-foot razor-wire-topped fences.

Salaz was captured by authorities last Wednesday in Mexico.

"Salaz thought that he had eluded authorities by starting a new life in Mexico. He was wrong," Texas Department of Criminal Justice Inspector General Bruce Toney said. "This should be a reminder to those who think they can out run justice. We will never stop looking for you."

State officials said in addition to his 35-year sentence, Salaz is now facing a felony escape charge. He will be transferred back into the TDCJ custody after extradition is approved by the Mexican government, officials said.

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