Escaped Las Vegas Murderer Who Killed His Victim With a Pipe Bomb Apprehended, Returned to Prison

  • Porfirio Duarte-Herrera, 42, was originally arrested in 2007
  • Duarte-Herrera was sentenced to life in prison in 2010
  • Battery acid and a cardboard mannequin facilitated his escape
  • A bus station worker tipped off police, leading to the arrest
Police car lights
A murderer’s escape from prison ended after nearly a week after he was arrested near a bus station. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

On the loose for nearly a week

Las Vegas police arrested an escaped bombmaker and murderer serving a life sentence for killing a casino hot dog vendor in 2007, authorities said.

used battery acid to melt his way out of his cell and stuffed a cardboard mannequin under his bedsheets

Porfirio Duarte-Herrera, 42, used battery acid to melt his way out of his cell and stuffed a cardboard mannequin under his bedsheets to fool prison guards. Duarte-Herrera broke out on Friday, September 23 but was not discovered missing until Tuesday, September 27. 

Police were tipped off by a bus station employee that a person matching the escaped felon’s description was spotted nearby. Officers arrested the man Wednesday night, shortly after they confirmed that he was the missing criminal.

Concluding the search

According to the Daily Mail, Duarte-Herrera was near the bus station as he was preparing to board a bus to Tijuana, Mexico. 

Duarte-Herrera was convicted in 2010 alongside his co-defendant, Omar Rueda-Denvers, for killing 24-year-old Willebaldo Dorantes Antonio with a motion-activated pipe bomb they hid in a coffee cup. The deceased was later identified as the boyfriend of Rueda-Denvers’ ex-girlfriend.

The explosion, which happened just outside the Luxor Casino & Resort, initially caused people to fear it was a terrorist attack before it was labeled an isolated incident bred from jealousy. 

crept through a perimeter fence near a prison tower with vision of the area

Fox 5 broke the story that the missing man used battery acid to compromise the window frame in his cell. He then crept through a perimeter fence near a prison tower with vision of the area, except nobody had been stationed in the tower for years.

Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Sheriff and Republican gubernatorial candidate Joseph Lombardo shared his concern that a man convicted of a “cold-blooded homicide” was back on the loose. He also condemned the prison and everyone involved in allowing Duarte-Herrera’s escape.

“The policies and procedure and all the failures that occurred on Friday and up to Tuesday need to be addressed,” Lombardo said during a Thursday press conference. “Infrastructure issues and prison system staffing issues, the ability for this individual to do it, from what I’ve been told, as simply as he did it is a grave concern to me and the entire law enforcement community and the community as a whole.” 

Cooperation and investigations

Las Vegas officials initially offered a $30,000 reward to anyone that could provide information leading to Duarte-Herrera’s arrest. Police also hit the streets to hand out flyers profiling the missing man. 

The weeklong panic eventually ended with what Lombardo referred to as cooperation between law enforcement, the media, and the public.

“In this case, the individual had a four-day head start,” Lombardo said. “Fortunately, and unfortunately, he remained in the area and we were able to apprehend him with the assistance of the public.”

Lombardo then stated that any additional information about the escape will be released by the prison.

ensure swift action is taken to address the conduct which led to the escape”

Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak opened an investigation into the escape after his office learned about it Tuesday evening. In a Thursday statement to the Associated Press, the governor’s office wrote that it is working with the department of corrections “to ensure swift action is taken to address the conduct which led to the escape.”

“Failure to follow protocol or procedures cannot be tolerated where public safety is at stake. Beyond this incident, addressing larger scale deficiencies in staffing remains a priority to the governor,” said the governor’s communications director, Meghin Delaney.