The seventh of eight convicts who escaped Oct. 9 from Costa Rica’s largest prison, La Reforma, was captured by police Saturday in Cartago, east of San José, according to a statement from the Public Security Ministry.
The fugitive, identified as Douglas Quirós, 48, was hiding in a covered rancho area near a hardware store, the statement said. An unidentified homeless man from the area gave Quirós away, the daily La Nación reported. Cartago police officers found the fugitive early Saturday morning sleeping in the covered area surrounded by newspaper clippings with reports of his and the seven other fugitives’ escape.
According to the daily, the homeless man, a crack addict who was sharing an improvised shack with Quirós, first told the OIJ about the case, but agents did not believe him and never checked out his story. The man tried again, this time with the Cartago Police, who responded almost immediately.
Quirós was arrested 500 meters from the home of the prosecutor who put him in jail, the daily Al Día reported. Officials are investigating why he was so close to the prosecutor.
Police took Quirós, who faces 44 years in prison and has been convicted of crimes including aggravated robbery and rape, to a prison in Cartago. At the time of his arrest, Quirós had a pistol and nine bullets, La Nación said. In photos published in the press, Quirós and agents appeared wearing masks because officials feared Quirós might have tuberculosis.
His arrest leaves Rafael Herrera as the last of the eight convicts who escaped from La Reforma still at large.
The fugitives broke out of the prison in Alajuela, northwest of San José, by sawing through their window bars, taking multiple guards hostage and killing another (TT, Oct. 13).
Four of the eight fugitives – Johel Guillermo Araya, Alberto Martínez, Johnny Rodríguez and Freddy García — were found in a house in Guácimo, on the Caribbean slope, Oct. 24. García was killed during a shootout with police.
Another of the fugitives, Roberto Clark, was arrested two days earlier at the annual Carnival festivities in the Caribbean port town of Limón (TT, Oct. 27), and a sixth inmate, Victor Urbina, surrendered himself to police Oct. 26 in Tres Rios, east of San José (TT, Nov. 3).