New details emerge in Progreso jail escape

Newly released law enforcement records detail exactly how a sexual assault suspect held in Progreso police custody escaped earlier this month.

Adrian Edwardo Garcia, 26, was taken into custody Aug. 5 when he arrived at the Progreso Police Department to claim a lost wallet, which investigators believe he dropped at the scene of the alleged sexual assault.

Garcia was read his Miranda rights and booked into jail, where he was the only prisoner held at the time, according to a probable cause affidavit obtained this week.

During the overnight hours between Aug. 5 and Aug. 6, Garcia is alleged to have escaped from the jail.

The escape went unnoticed for an unknown period of time until the two officers on duty that night returned to the facility to check on Garcia at approximately 3 a.m.

“(Officers) noticed that he was not inside the cell and as they looked around noticed a large hole on the N/W corner of the cell,” the probable cause affidavit reads.

The affidavit goes on to state that a large portion of the sheetrock had been “torn off” and that a layer of wire mesh had been “pried open and bent outward.”

The two officers began to search for Garcia, and also called Hidalgo County sheriff’s deputies and U.S. Border Patrol for help.

Jail surveillance footage appeared to show Garcia escaping through a hole in the ceiling and exiting through a door on the facility’s south side, the affidavit reads.

When reached by phone Friday, Progreso Police Chief Cesar Solis declined to comment on the matter, saying he does not comment via phone, nor does he comment on ongoing investigations.

However, during an in-person interview at the police department Aug. 15, Solis said that a design flaw may have contributed to the escape, but did not elaborate further.

During that same interview, Solis also declined to release a copy of what appeared to be the probable cause affidavit detailing the circumstances of the escape that officers used to obtain a warrant for Garcia’s arrest.

The Monitor had requested the document, as well as the probable cause affidavit detailing the sexual assault — and the arrest reports for both incidents — via a public information request submitted via email Aug. 8, and in person nearly a week later, on Aug. 14.

At the time of the in-person interview, Solis said a correction needed to be made before the document regarding the escape could be released, but agreed to speak about the circumstances surrounding the escape.

A copy of the affidavit from the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office was later obtained in response to a public information request. That copy shows a discrepancy in the date the escape is alleged to have occurred: At the top of the document, the date reads, “…On The 06 Day of June 2019…” while the detailed narrative reads, “On Tuesday 08-06-19…”

When asked Friday if the Progreso Police Department would fulfill the remainder of the public information request by releasing its copy of the probable cause affidavit regarding the escape, Solis refused, saying he had already released documents responsive to the request.

Progreso police have also not released the arrest reports associated with the two incidents.

Solis also denied a request by a Monitor reporter to inspect the police records in person, which is allowed by the Texas Public Information Act, on Aug. 14.

Section 552.221 of the act reads, “An officer for public information of a governmental body shall promptly produce public information for inspection, duplication, or both on application by any person to the officer.”

Instead, Solis presented an ultimatum that he’d either release hard copies of the documents if The Monitor appeared in person the following day, or otherwise delay their release for 10 business days.

Garcia was ultimately apprehended in Reynosa, Mexico, just hours after his escape. The probable cause affidavit states that Garcia’s mother told investigators she had taken Garcia “to a hotel in Reynosa to evade capture.”

Working in partnership with Mexican law enforcement, U.S. Marshals were able to take Garcia back into custody, where he was transferred to the Hidalgo County jail.

He remains at the jail pending a total of $700,000 bond for the sexual assault charge, a second-degree felony, and the escape charge, which is a third-degree felony.

Garcia also faces an additional charge of indecency with a child stemming from an incident at a Walmart in Mission last November.

Arrested in mid-April in connection with that investigation, Garcia had been free on a $50,000 bond at the time of the alleged sex assault and escape in Progreso.