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ALBUQUERQUE — The escape of two inmates from a fortified prison van has raised concerns about security within New Mexico's corrections system as questions linger over how the men with violent criminal backgrounds could break free and flee potentially hundreds of miles before anyone reported them missing.

The dayslong manhunt for convicted murderer Joseph Cruz and Lionel Clah, sentenced in 2009 for armed robbery and shooting at a police officer, ended over the weekend — with Cruz's capture Friday evening near the University of New Mexico and Clah surrendering to authorities outside an Albuquerque apartment complex a day later.

The men bolted Wednesday around 8:30 p.m. from the van transporting them to a Las Cruces prison. The getaway happened along a remote stretch of southern New Mexico highway, and surveillance video shows they reached Albuquerque by 4:30 a.m. the next day.

But authorities have remained mostly tight-lipped about their investigation as state officials face uncomfortable questions about possible missteps that could have led to the escape. Both men were shackled and wearing white jumpsuits before they went missing, authorities said.

What is known about the prisoners' escape?

State police have raised the likelihood that the escape happened during a fuel stop in the small desert town of Artesia because guards accounted for the men during a prior stop in Roswell, and officials discovered the men were missing in Las Cruces around 1 a.m. Thursday.

What is known about the prisoners' escape?

State Police Chief Pete Kassetas declined to say what surveillance video from the Artesia gas station may have revealed about the escape, indicating that disclosing the details could hamper the investigation. Investigators also directed Corrections Department officials not to discuss what may have led to the escape as the investigation continues.

What are authorities saying?

Authorities believe the escape was planned and that the men received assistance, although Cruz and Clah told reporters as they were cuffed and marched into a police station that they didn't get help. Cruz also said he picked the locks on his shackles, while a woman who turned in Clah said he told her he did the same.

Kassetas said that while the men were still on the run that he wouldn't rule out the possibility that they may have had help from within the Department of Corrections.

What are the protocols for transporting prisoners?

Standard precautions require guards to search inmates and the transport vehicle at each stop for clandestine tools or weapons, and high-risk inmates should rarely_if ever_be allowed out of sight, said Gary Klugiewicz, a former inmate transport trainer with security consultant Vistelar in Wisconsin.

The two guards in charge of the van that was transporting Cruz and Clah have been placed on administrative leave.

What is known about the men's time on the run?

By the time authorities notified the public of the men's escape, both had travelled more than 200 miles north to an Albuquerque hotel, where they appeared in surveillance video dressed in jeans and shirts. State police said they were investigating whether Cruz's sister helped the two in the escape. She was arrested over the weekend on an unrelated drug-possession warrant.

Little is known about Cruz's two days of freedom before he was caught near a busy Albuquerque intersection Friday. At least twice, police responded to possible sightings of Clah in Albuquerque before a woman reported he was hiding in her apartment.

Clah said he "had fun" during his days on the run.

What's next?

Sgt. Elizabeth Armijo, a state police spokeswoman said more arrests are possible if authorities can determine who helped the men knowing they were escaped convicts. Both have been interviewed by investigators and returned to the state penitentiary, where they are being held in a maximum security unit. State police will consult with prosecutors about additional charges for Cruz and Clah once their investigation is complete.

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