SAN JACINTO COUNTY, TX- Four days after allegedly cutting through and removing his court-ordered ankle monitor, fugitive Joshua Eduardo Escobar has been located and taken into custody by law enforcement in Luling, Texas, by Gonzales County Deputies and Guadalupe County Deputies.
San Jacinto County First Assistant District Attorney Rob Freyer said the 19-year-old Escobar has now been indicted on first-degree murder charges in the shooting death of Sean Velasquez, who was also 19. The victim was reportedly the new boyfriend of Escobar’s ex-girlfriend. Midday on Friday, March 24, SJC’s 911 call center dispatched crews to a residence near the Montgomery County line in the Willis area. Velasquez was found on a bed in a pool of his own blood, shot twice in the chest, and beyond help. Members of the San Jacinto County District Attorney’s Office also responded to the murder scene to provide assistance.
Escobar’s ex-girlfriend was with the mortally wounded Velasquez, and told law enforcement Escobar shot him and then fled by vehicle to the Cypress area, near Houston. San Jacinto Sheriff Greg Capers notified law enforcement agencies and appealed to news media across the region to broadcast Escobar’s photo and description, along with his alleged crime and a warning that he should be considered armed and dangerous. Sheriff Capers hoped a tipster would provide his location, as law enforcement continued to search. The manhunt was ended the following evening, when Escobar surrendered at the San Jacinto County Sheriff’s Office.
Although Escobar was securely jailed on a $1 million bond at first, things later changed. On May 10, despite the strenuous objections of San Jacinto County Prosecutors, 258th District Court Judge Travis Kitchens reduced Escobar’s bond to a mere $75,000. As per the usual case when bond is reduced on a serious charge for a heinous crime, someone then managed to bond him out.
Following Escobar’s release on bond from SJCJ, he had to face a Montgomery County charge racked up three weeks before the homicide. On May 10, Escobar became a Montgomery County Jail inmate, charged with Assault / Family Violence (Class A misdemeanor). It was not a violation of his bond because the alleged assault occurred prior to the homicide. He was later released from Montgomery County custody, but supervised with an ankle monitor, so authorities could keep track of him while he awaited trial.
On Monday, June 5, Escobar discarded the ankle monitor and fled. San Jacinto County authorities learned of his disappearance on Wednesday. Sheriff Capers and Prosecutors began reaching out to other agencies again and gathering information.
On Friday, a San Jacinto County Grand Jury returned a first-degree murder indictment against the fugitive Escobar, according to Freyer.
There is no way of knowing whether news of the indictment would have affected Escobar’s plans or path, because the stolen vehicle in which he was fleeing had been identified by law enforcement, and it was detected by the license plate readers most patrol units now have. That’s when Gonzales and Guadalupe County Deputy Sheriffs closed in and took him into custody to be returned to the San Jacinto County Jail in Coldspring.
Interestingly, Escobar was not traveling alone. Police say he had help in his short-lived getaway. Deputies also detained a young woman named Jennifer Avila. Sheriff Capers said she will be charged with Hindering Apprehension of a Known Felon.
The real head-scratcher of the latest chapter in this bad story is the revelation that Miss Avila was also the ex-girlfriend who was with the murder victim at the time of the March 24 shooting and told responding deputies who fired the shots and where he was headed. (Again, since it’s late on a Friday, we don’t have more info. on her, but we will at some point.)
Upon notification of successful capture, San Jacinto Sheriff’s Deputies immediately headed west to retrieve the suspects. Freyer said they are expected to be back in the San Jacinto County Jail this evening.
We’ll post more information when it becomes available.