Inmate who escaped from Atwater federal prison camp still at large

Eric Pree, 47, escaped from the U.S. Penitentiary Atwater on Sunday.
Eric Pree, 47, escaped from the U.S. Penitentiary Atwater on Sunday. U.S. Penitentiary Atwater

An inmate who walked away from the U.S. Penitentiary in Atwater remained missing Monday afternoon, more than a day after his escape, prison officials reported.

Eric Pree, 47, was discovered missing from the federal prison camp about 10 a.m. Sunday, according to a news release from the prison. The minimum-security prison camp houses about 130 men in dormitory-style housing with minimal perimeter fencing, a public information officer said.

Pree was serving a sentence of eight years and five months for conspiracy to commit mail fraud, officials said. He arrived at the Atwater prison camp in September.

The U.S. Marshals Service and other law enforcement agencies were immediately notified, and an internal investigation was initiated. Prison officials did not alert local media organizations or the public until 6 p.m. Sunday.

The Merced County Sheriff’s Office reached out to prison officials regarding the incident Monday morning, Undersheriff Jason Goins said.

Prison officials declined to comment further on the incident, citing an ongoing investigation. They directed any further questions to the U.S. Marshals Service.

Pree is described as an African American man who is 5 feet 9 inches tall and weighs about 130 pounds.

Anyone with information about Pree or his whereabouts is asked to call the nearest FBI office or the CEO of the prison at 209-386-0257.

Brianna Calix: 209-385-2477