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Sisolak says man convicted in Luxor bombing escaped this weekend

Updated September 27, 2022 - 5:27 pm

A man convicted of murder in the 2007 Luxor bombing has escaped from the Southern Desert Correctional Center near Indian Springs, authorities said Tuesday.

Gov. Steve Sisolak later issued a statement saying he had learned that the prisoner had been missing since early in the weekend.

“This is unacceptable,” Sisolak said in the statement.

According to the statement, Sisolak has ordered the Nevada Department of Corrections to conduct a thorough investigation into the escape “as quickly as possible.”

“This kind of security lapse cannot be permitted and those responsible will be held accountable,” he said.

Porfirio Duarte-Herrera, 42, was serving a life sentence after being convicted in 2010 of building and planting a pipe bomb atop a car in the Luxor parking garage, killing a casino hot dog stand worker.

NDOC officials said in an update around 6 p.m. Tuesday that Duarte-Herrera had been unaccounted for since approximately Friday evening.

Duarte-Herrera was considered a medium-security inmate, according to a statement from the Nevada Department of Corrections. He was reported missing after officers checked on him at 7 a.m.

“Escape procedures were initiated at approximately 8 a.m., and search teams remain in effect,” officials wrote in the statement.

Duarte-Herrera is 5 feet, 4 inches tall and 135 pounds with brown eyes and brown hair.

The Metropolitan Police Department was alerted to the escape, but it was not clear what steps have been taken to track down Duarte-Herrera.

“We are aware of it, and our officers are being vigilant,” Metro officer Larry Hadfield said.

Duarte-Herrera’s friend Omar Rueda-Denvers also was convicted of murder in the bombing. Prosecutors said he orchestrated the attack to bring harm to his ex-girlfriend, Caren Chali, and her lover, Willebaldo Dorantes Antonio, 27, who died in the blast.

Chali, the mother of Rueda-Denvers’ then-3-year-old daughter, was not harmed in the bombing.

Antonio was killed after he unwittingly picked up the bomb atop his car after his shift at the Luxor.

The killing initially stoked fears of a possible terrorist attack on the Strip, but investigators quickly zeroed in on two suspects.

Prosecutors initially sought the death penalty for Duarte-Herrera and Rueda-Denvers. The two were found guilty in 2010 of one count each of murder with use of a deadly weapon and attempted murder with use of a deadly weapon. Neither is eligible for parole.

In 2019, a federal judge granted Rueda-Denvers a new trial, ruling that he was unable to cross-examine his co-defendant, whose incriminating statements to police were presented to the jury.

Rueda-Denvers faced a retrial in 2021 and was convicted of murder, attempted murder, possession of an explosive or incendiary device and transportation or receipt of explosives.

Contact Sabrina Schnur at sschnur@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0278. Follow @sabrina_schnur on Twitter.

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