Police hunt 2 after jailbreak
Aspen Times Staff Writer
Two men escaped from the Pitkin County Jail Sunday afternoon and were still on the loose as of press time last night.
Robert John Feliciano, 18, and Devin John Sayyae, 20, fled the jail’s outdoor exercise area around 2:35 p.m. Jail administrator Don Bird said it appears that a “procedural error” and tampering with the fence allowed their escape.
A gap in the lower portion of the fence between the chain link and a thick metal bar is thought to be how the men slipped out of the cage area. About seven inmates were in the area yesterday afternoon, and a jail officer didn’t watch them all come in, Bird said.
“They were unattended for a matter of minutes,” he said.
Feliciano is charged with sexually assaulting a 16-year-old Aspen girl at knife point in February.
Sayyae was sentenced to two years for auto theft. He was booked into the jail in January and was awaiting placement in the Colorado Department of Corrections.
Police are investigating whether the two men had outside help in the escape.
Orange, jail-issued clothing and tennis shoes were found along the east side of the jail. Based on the size of the clothing and shoes, the items may have been Sayyae’s, said Ellen Anderson of the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office. She said authorities do not know what he is wearing. She added he may be barefoot.
Feliciano shed his jail-issued pants and may be in a white T-shirt and orange gym shorts. He could be wearing white tennis shoes.
The bar at the base of the chain-link fence was bent inward, and metal that would hold the cage together appeared to have been removed or snapped. Bird said since cars park along that side of the fence, the damage may have been hard to see.
“I’m surprised and disappointed,” Bird said. “[Inmates] are always under watch, but a procedural error appears to have been made.”
A police dog picked up a scent from the clothing left behind and followed a trail to an undisclosed area, said Anderson. Police are following several leads, including one from witnesses who said they saw the men on the Rio Grande Trail heading downvalley. Anderson also said police were interviewing other inmates.
“We’re hoping to get some leads from citizens who have been made aware of the descriptions,” said Pitkin County Sheriff Bob Braudis. Police are also investigating the men’s local connections, he said.
Officers from the sheriff’s office and the Aspen and Snowmass police departments canvassed the upper valley from Independence Pass to the Old Snowmass area.
Surrounding police agencies, and print, radio and television media on the Western Slope were also alerted.
Drivers for the Roaring Fork Transit Authority and nearby campground hosts have also been notified to be on the lookout for the escapees.
Feliciano is white, 5 feet 5 inches tall, and 145 pounds with brown eyes and long brown hair kept in a pony tail. He is from New York and has a Puerto Rican accent, as well as several tattoos:
An “R” tattooed in red on his upper left arm, another “R” and a heart on his left hand and a D by his thumb. He also has “Danielle” tattooed on his left wrist, as well as three scars on his left arm, ranging from 1 to 2 inches long. He has pierced ears.
Sayyae is white, 6 feet 2 inches and 175 pounds, with short brown hair and blue eyes. He has a pock-marked face with a mustache and goatee, and also has pierced ears.
Both men were studying for their GEDs and were not a “management problem” in the jail, Bird said. He does not consider the two dangerous, though he added that Feliciano, because of the violent nature of his charges, was being kept isolated from other inmates.
“Anyone who sees them should call 911 and not approach them,” Braudis said.
Escape is a class-four felony for Sayyae, since he’s already been convicted of a crime, and could result in two to six years added to his sentence, Bird said. For Feliciano, the charge would be a class-five felony, with a sentence range of one to three years.
Only a couple of inmates have ever escaped from the current Pitkin County Jail, completed in 1983. The last person to escape was Darryl Demott, who was out of the jail overnight in 1987 and found by a deputy in the Aspen Club parking lot.
Anyone with information about the suspects is asked to call the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office immediately at 920-5300.
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