Escapee from Merced jail caught in Winton

12/30/2012 2:49 AM

12/31/2012 1:09 AM

Merced County sheriff's officials Saturday afternoon found a man hiding in a closet three days after he escaped from jail through a hole in a bathroom ceiling.

Adrian Hicks, 39, of Merced, said he escaped because he thought it was unfair that a judge extended his jail time for failing to turn himself in to serve his initial jail sentence of three years, said sheriff's spokesman deputy Tom MacKenzie.

The Sheriff's Tactical and Reconnaissance Team had been working nonstop, tracking and following leads since Hicks escaped early Wednesday.

MacKenzie said the team tracked Hicks to a home in the 6200 block of Santa Fe Drive, a few blocks west of Shaffer Road in Winton.

After surrounding the house and searching inside, the sheriff's team found Hicks hiding under a pile of clothes in the corner of the closet in a back bedroom. They took him into custody about 2 p.m.

Hicks told sheriff's officials he had been moving from home to home in Merced as he felt pressure from law enforcement increase, according to MacKenzie. Hicks then moved to the home in Winton.

Investigators were trying to determine whether anyone else will be charged with aiding or harboring a fugitive.

After his conviction on charges of possession of stolen property and grand theft, both with priors, and felony evading a peace officer, a judge gave Hicks time out of custody to settle some personal matters before turning himself in to serve his jail sentence. He didn't return, and Merced police arrested him; then the judge doubled Hicks' jail time.

MacKenzie said Hicks thought he didn't deserve the extra time. Hicks escaped Wednesday morning from the county's John Latorraca Correctional Facility near El Nido.

Sometime after a 6:30 a.m. head count, correctional officers discovered blankets on the fence behind a dorm. MacKenzie said another head count was conducted, and it became apparent that Hicks escaped through the hole in the bathroom ceiling.

In connection with the investigation, deputies on Saturday arrested Monica Beserra, 30, of Winton. Beserra is accused of harboring Hicks after his escape. She had two outstanding warrants for narcotics possession.

Sun-Star City Editor Victor A. Patton contributed to this report.

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