By Brendan O’Brien
(Reuters) – Two murder suspects were captured at the U.S.-Mexican border while attempting to walk back into the United States on Wednesday, three days after escaping from a California jail hundreds of miles to the north, police said.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents took Santos Fonseca, 21, and Jonathan Salazar, 20, into custody near Tijuana, Monterey County Sheriff’s Office spokesman John Thornburg said at a news briefing.
The pair escaped on Sunday morning from the Monterey County Adult Detention Facility in Salinas, located about 100 miles southeast of San Francisco and about 450 miles (725 km) north of where they were captured, the sheriff’s department said on social media.
Thornburg said his department notified border agents to be on the lookout for the pair after receiving information that they may have been in the area.
It is unclear how the two suspects got to Tijuana, located just south of San Diego, or why they were attempting to return to the United States.
The inmates had cut a hole in the ceiling of the Salinas facility and climbed out of it to escape, according to a local ABC affiliate.
Sheriffs detectives were transporting the men, who are awaiting trial on unrelated murder and felony charges, back to Monterey County, the sheriff’s department said.
(Reporting by Brendan O’Brien in Chicago; Editing by Frank McGurty and Leslie Adler)