Crime

Caldwell woman accused of harboring Canyon County jail escapees

Korena Irma Valencia
Korena Irma Valencia

Korena Irma Valencia, 24, was arrested Tuesday afternoon and accused of assisting Juan Valentin Cervantes and Jeffrey Scott Duvall during the three days they were on the loose.

Valencia, who is Cervantes’ girlfriend, is charged with being an accessory to a crime by harboring a person accused of a felony.

Cervantes, 25, and Duvall, 27, scaled a 9-foot wall at about 10:30 p.m. Saturday into the kitchen of Canyon County’s tent jail kitchen. They escaped by opening breaking through an emergency fire door leading to the outside. The door will have to be replaced, said Capt. Daren Ward, the jail commander.

The two men were discovered Tuesday afternoon inside a residence belonging to Valencia on Bighorn Way in Caldwell, about two miles southeast of the Canyon County Jail.

Cervantes and Duvall, who were taken into custody without incident, are scheduled to be arraigned Wednesday afternoon on felony escape charges.

An online case listing for Valencia did not show that her arraignment has been scheduled.

Before their escape, Cervantes and Duvall were in custody on felony probation violations. Online arrest records show that Duvall’s latest charges are attempted strangulation and domestic battery with traumatic injury, while Cervantes’ were driving without privileges, misdemeanor DUI and possession of a controlled substance.

The escape was the fourth from the decade-old structure in the past 18 months. Each time, the inmate that escaped was recaptured.

The tent structure, separate from the overcrowded jail, was initially used to house minimum-security prisoners. However, since 2011, some prisoners held on more serious charges have also been housed there.

County officials said Monday they will construct a metal sub-ceiling above the kitchen so that anyone climbing the wall will get stuck. The project is expected to be completed in a few days.

Canyon County commissioners will hold a meeting at 11 a.m. Thursday to discuss what to do with the tent facility. They are expected to consider reverting to using it for work-release prisoners. If that happens, the 83 inmates now held there would have to be moved.

County officials have long argued about the need for a better jail. Chairman Steve Rule and fellow Commissioner Craig Hanson have pushed for expansion of the current jail, while Sheriff Kieran Donahue and Commissioner Tom Dale say a new jail is needed.

Pam White, who defeated Hanson in the May primary and who will take office in January, also favors building a new jail.

John Sowell: 208-377-6423, @IDS_Sowell

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