Manhunt continues for escaped prisoner


ENFIELD, Conn. (WTNH) — The search continues Monday for a prisoner who escaped from a correctional facility in Enfield on Sunday.

Police are searching for 25-year-old Jerry Mercado of Hartford. Prison officials say Mercado was discovered missing from the Carl Robinson Correctional Institution around 3:15 p.m. Sunday during a routine prisoner count of the 1500 inmates at the facility. Officials say they notified state and local law enforcement as soon as they knew Mercado was missing and sent out community alerts.Original Story: Prisoner escapes from Enfield correctional institution

At a news conference late Monday morning, Connecticut Department of Corrections Commissioner, Scott Semple said Mercado escaped sometime around 12 p.m. Sunday. Police believe Mercado stowed himself away under either a garbage truck or a state van that was at the facility and inside the barbed wire at the time in order to get out.

Semple did not elaborate on whether or not the driver of the vehicle Mercado escaped on was involved in his escape.

“There were vehicles on the grounds of the facility doing route maintenance,” Semple said.  “We are examining the potential that he was a stowaway under the infrastructure of the vehicle itself.”

State Police are interviewing multiple people close to the investigation in the correctional facility, in law enforcement and those who live in Enfield.

Commissioner Semple also noted that they are taking stock of some flaws with security measures at Carl Robinson Correctional and working to eliminate them, but did not elaborate on specifics.

“Although our investigation is very much in its infancy, we acknowledge vulnerabilities that have been identified within our security practices,” Semple said during the press conference.

Semple said the other 15 facilities across the state are also being examined to ensure no breaches.

Jennifer Catania-Fregeau lives near the correctional facility and says she is not rattled.

“I know the prison is right down the street from here, but I’ve lived here my whole life,” Catania-Fregeau said.

She said her father worked at the correctional institution for 23 years and noted the last escape was 1992.

“It doesn’t bother me at all because they’re going to go farther away than here,” Catania-Fregeau added.

She called Mercado’s actions desperate and short-lived.

“They’ll find him – you can’t get away with anything,” Catania Fregeau continued.  “That’s desperate, just desperate.  I don’t know how long his sentence was supposed to be, but they’re going to tack even more on once they find him.”

Mercado was serving a three-year sentence for a burglary conviction in 2016. Officials say he has some identifying tattoos on his face and neck, including one that says ‘time waits for no one.”

He is believed to be in the Hartford area. Law enforcement officials did not provide specifics on the intelligence they have that he is in that area.

If you have any information on the whereabouts of Jerry Mercado, you’re asked to call State Police Troop H at 860-968-0664.

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