The second man to escape recently from the Pioche Conservation Honor Camp was taken back into custody on Jan. 8. And Sheriff Kerry Lee said the man, Sony Perez, had not really gotten very far. He was actually discovered only about a half mile south of the Beaver Dam Road on U.S. 93.
Lee reported he received a call on his personal phone about 11:30 a.m. Jan. 8 from a local resident citizen who reported having talked to a man he felt somewhat suspicious about.
Perez, 34, had escaped from the camp on New Years Day. He was committed from Clark County on Oct. 21, 2014, and was serving 24 to 60 months for grand larceny of a motor vehicle.
According to Lee, the citizen said he had seen a man crossing U.S. 93 on foot and heading toward a nearby house. However, the caller, who was aware of the escapee, thought it was most unusual to see a person walking along the highway at that point, and circled back around with the intent of offering assistance.
The motorist was told by the man, he was from California, had been in the area with his girlfriend, but had gotten into a dispute with her, and she dumped him out on the highway and he was walking. He was cold, hungry, tired and suffering from minor effects of hypothermia.
Lee in turned called other deputies and had one respond to the scene. “It just seemed something wasn’t right,” he said.
A short time later, Lee received a second call from the local person, who said, after talking with the man, he admitted he was the person who had escaped Jan. 1 from the Honor Camp. When deputies arrived, they took Perez into custody without incident.
“After being out in the open for the better part of a week,” Lee said, “he was quite willing to surrender. I think he’d had all the great outdoors that he wanted. He looked pretty rough, dirty and cold.” Average overnight temperature in the area was 23F.
Perez was taken to Grover C. Dils Hospital for medical attention, treated and released back into police custody.
He was taken to the Detention Center in Pioche, booked for escape, and has since been transferred to the state prison in Ely.
Lee said he was surprised the man was still in the Meadow Valley/Panaca area after a week on the run. “I think he may have found some shelter and food, but we thought he was long gone. But we might find out later from people who may have weekend homes up here, that he might have broken into one or more.”
Perez was almost captured by Sheriff’s deputies the same day he escaped. Lee said he was first spotted by Department of Corrections staff on U.S. 93, at the Pioche business loop junction. “He was trying to get into a vehicle he had flagged down, but when we confronted him, he took off running into the mountains to the northeast. We brought in the dogs and tracked him for several miles, but eventually lost the trail at night and when the snow thinned out. That was the last contact we had with him.”
Corrections department spokeswoman Brooke Keast said Perez’ sentence will be affected. “The laws are strong and they can get significant time for an escape.” She said he also will not be eligible to return to the Honor Camp.