California

Update: Escaped Salinas murder suspect not found at Monterey motel after standoff

Jonathan Salazar, left, and Santos Samuel Fonseca escaped from Monterey County Jail. Sheriff’s deputies said Tuesday they may have one of the men holed up in a motel.
Jonathan Salazar, left, and Santos Samuel Fonseca escaped from Monterey County Jail. Sheriff’s deputies said Tuesday they may have one of the men holed up in a motel.

Update: An hours-long standoff at the Motel 6 in Marina ended shortly before 7 p.m. Tuesday as authorities entered the motel only to find that the escaped murder suspect believed to be inside wasn’t there.

Original story:

One of the two men being sought by authorities after escaping from a Salinas jail Sunday is believed to be holed up at a motel in the Monterey County town of Marina, according to news reports.

“We have what is starting to look to look like a confirmed sighting of one of the inmates,” Monterey County sheriff’s Capt. John Thornburg told Salinas’ KSBW-TV around 4 p.m. Tuesday outside the motel on the Monterey Peninsula near Marina State Beach. “This could be a long, drawn-out process or this could be quick. This is one of these unknowns.”

Marina police and Monterey sheriff’s deputies have surrounded the motel in the town 10 miles west of Salinas for hours and evacuated the area.

Inside, Thornburg said, may be 20-year-old Jonathan Salazar, distinctive by the tattooed letter “P” on one cheekbone.

“Is it absolutely positive that it’s him? No,” Thornburg said. “We’re not there until we have that person in custody.”

A day earlier, Thornburg described to media how Salazar and Santos Fonseca, accused killers from rival Salinas Valley gangs, carved a hole through the ceiling of their jail dormitory’s restroom and wormed their way to escape.

A blind spot in the dorm’s security camera allowed the men to go undetected as they worked, Thornburg said. Monterey County jailers didn’t know Fonseca, 21, and Salazar had gone missing until a Sunday morning head count.

By then, the pair were in the wind and the subjects of a statewide manhunt.

Fonseca remained at large Tuesday.

Monterey County authorities rolled out a $5,000 reward and an anonymous tip line, 831-755-6276, hoping for the break that would lead them to the escapees.

By 6 p.m. Tuesday, it was unknown if deputies had the break – and the man – they were looking for.

Darrell Smith covers courts and California news for The Sacramento Bee. He joined The Bee in 2006 and previously worked at newspapers in Palm Springs, Colorado Springs, Colo., and Marysville. A Sacramento Valley native, Smith was born and raised at Beale Air Force Base, near Marysville.
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