Escaped inmate captured in San Jose hotel with girlfriend: sheriff

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By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner


SAN JOSE, Calif. – An escaped inmate from San Benito County was located and captured along with his girlfriend at a hotel in San Jose on Wednesday night, sheriff’s officials said.

Daniel Lopez Zavala, 38, escaped from the San Benito County Correctional Facility in Hollister early Tuesday by scaling an eight-foot barbed wire fence, according to the San Benito County Sheriff’s Office.

Minutes after the escape, law enforcement authorities fanned out in the area but could not locate the inmate. The sheriff’s office issued a regional alert for the escapee.

They said on Wednesday, along with the San Jose Police Department, deputies followed a lead in the case that brought them to a hotel in San Jose.

There, they located Zavala along with his 31-year-old girlfriend, Luz Mendoza of Hollister. “We know Luz helped Mr. Zavala during his escape and we are recommending full prosecution of her,” sheriff’s officials said in their announcement of Zavala’s apprehension.

Officials said that while they did not deem him a specific threat to the public, they were very motivated to promptly bring him back into custody due to what they called “his extensive criminal history.”

He has been charged with drug possession, felony gun charges and child abuse, the sheriff said. 

Following his re-arrest, sheriff’s officials said they were working on improving security measures at the jail and addressing staffing concerns.

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About the Author
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.