Escaped MDC inmate speaks to KOB

Posted at: 02/13/2013 6:20 PM
By: Maria Guerrero, KOB Eyewitness News 4

Photo: Valerie Guzman
Photo: Valerie Guzman

An MDC inmate is on the loose, she says because her guard was not doing his job. And now that MDC guard could be in trouble too.

Valerie Guzman admits she walked right out of UNM Hospital at around noon on Tuesday. This led to lockdowns at two nearby local schools. Police arrested the 26-year-old for auto burglary and was in the hospital for ingesting heroin and another drug.
 
Guzman claims it didn’t take much to escape because she was being watched by a sleepy guard.
 
"I looked at him and I woke him up and said: Montoya, are you tired or what? And he looked at me and said: Yes, I haven't slept. I'm awake. I'm here. I'm here."
 
MDC guard Robert Montoya says he went running after her but she got away.
 
"Apparently she took advantage and she escaped,” said MDC Chief Ramon Rustin.
 
Rustin says the department is looking into the guard’s action and whether he fell asleep on the job.
 
"I haven't heard that until you folks brought it to my attention so but there will be a thorough investigation," said Rustin.
 
Inmates, he says, should be kept in sight or nearby at all times. They should also be chained at their feet. Guzman says the guard unshackled her so she could go to the bathroom.
 
"I left out of the front door," said Guzman. When asked what the guard was doing at the time, she said: "Sitting on the couch lightly snoring, not paying attention." 
 
Unshackling is sometimes common for medical reasons, including if the inmate is pregnant. Guzman says she’s not pregnant.
 
"We transport inmates to hospitals to court on a daily basis and these incidents don't happen,” said Rustin. Unfortunately this one did and we'll take every precaution that it doesn't happen in the future."
Because she’s a fugitive, KOB Eyewitness News 4 has been in touch with MDC as Guzman has gotten in touch with the news station.
 
As for any policy changes, Rustin says MDC’s policies are solid, if they are followed.