Fugitive former Paris Hilton prosecutor David Schubert may have fled to Mexico.
Adding fuel to the belief Schubert is south of the border is a photograph of an empty beach posted to his Facebook page from a mobile device at about noon Thursday.
Below the photo of trampled white sand and frothy waves crashing under a clear blue sky is a note: "Thank you all so much for the birthday wishes! All is well. Here is a present for you."
Schubert, who often handled celebrity drug cases, lost his job as a Clark County prosecutor after he was arrested after buying $40 worth of cocaine in 2011. He has been missing since he failed to surrender in court Sept. 21 to start serving a nine-month jail term.
His lawyer, Louis Schneider, said late Thursday that authorities told him they believe Schubert is in Mexico.
A Las Vegas police spokeswoman did not return a call for comment.
"I am relieved that he's alive," Schneider said. "He kept his plans from me, and frankly I'm grateful that he did that. I didn't want to know what he was doing."
After Schubert failed to surrender on Sept. 21, Schneider expressed concern for his safety, but the Review-Journal has learned that Schubert boarded a plane for San Diego that morning and is thought to have walked across the border to Tijuana.
In Schubert's absence, Schneider said, he filed a "great appeal" Wednesday to overturn the former chief deputy district attorney's drug conviction.
"I'm going to continue to fight the fight for Dave because he's a good man who has some substance abuse issues," Schneider said. "If he comes back now, I think I can fix this. We still stand a fighting chance to convince the judge not to revoke his probation and send him to prison."
News of the Facebook photo set off a buzz in the Las Vegas legal community Thursday afternoon.
The photograph is reminiscent of a scene in the film "The Shawshank Redemption," when a parolee receives an unsigned postcard showing a white sandy beach, a clue that a friend who escaped from prison made it to Mexico.
One of Schubert's Facebook friends, defense lawyer Chris Rasmussen, suggested the Facebook post is a beach in Mexico.
"You done lost your mind," Rasmussen wrote under the beach photo.
The Facebook page does not indicate the location of the photograph, where or when it was taken, or whether it was uploaded by Schubert or someone else with access to his account.
Schubert may have logged in Wednesday and Thursday to add seven friends to his site, including several local attorneys and a UNLV Boyd Law School professor. He did not reply to Facebook messages or a "friend" request sent by the Review-Journal, however.
On Thursday, about a dozen posts on the social media site wished Schubert a happy 49th birthday.
Schubert's profile photo on Facebook shows him and a woman wearing T-shirts supporting Phung Jefferson's campaign for district judge. Jefferson is running against District Judge Carolyn Ellsworth, who in February sentenced Schubert to jail as part of his probation and called him "a disgrace to his oath as a prosecutor and a lawyer."
The Nevada Supreme Court last week temporarily suspended Schubert from practicing law because of his guilty plea last year. The court referred the matter to the State Bar of Nevada to determine the "extent of discipline" against the former prosecutor.
Schubert, who handled the celebrity drug cases of Hilton and Grammy-winning pop singer Bruno Mars, had remained free while he challenged Ellsworth's sentence. He was ordered to turn himself in after the high court earlier this month refused to stay it while considering his appeal.
Ellsworth issued a warrant for his arrest after he failed to surrender.
Authorities didn't find Schubert at home but found his personal belongings and his car there.
Thom Gover, the chief deputy attorney general who handled the case after the district attorney's office recused itself, said Thursday that Schubert's arrest warrant is now in a national law enforcement database.
Schubert, a 10-year prosecutor, handled Hilton's case after her 2010 arrest for possession of 0.8 grams of cocaine during a traffic stop on the Strip. She pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges and served a year's probation.
Schubert also prosecuted Mars, who was arrested at the Hard Rock Hotel in 2010.
Mars pleaded guilty to felony cocaine possession, and the case against him was dismissed in January after the singer fulfilled sentencing obligations, including more than 200 hours of community service.
Police arrested Schubert in March 2011 after they watched a man get out of a white BMW, enter and then leave a central Las Vegas apartment complex known to be a place where drugs are sold. Officers stopped the car and found Schubert with a small amount of cocaine and a 9mm handgun.