On Thursday morning at around 4:45am on March 1, the Blanco County News received an emergency notification about a jail escape from the Burnet County Jail. The Burnet County Sheriff’s Office, which issued the alert, reported that the escapee was 40-year-old Johnny Angel Ybarra, who had last been last seen at 12:30am.
Ybarra was sentenced on February 14, 2012, to life imprisonment after pleading guilty to burglary of a habitation with intent to commit sexual assault, burglary of a habitation with intent to commit another felony, and assault of a family member by impeded breath or circulation.
Burnet County Sheriff W.T. Smith had been notified by the warden at around 3:50am that an inmate was unaccounted for and believed to have escaped from custody, according to a release from Smith’s office. The sheriff activated the emergency notification system at 4:08am, stated the release, and law enforcement agencies in Burnet County and the surrounding area mobilized to search for the escapee.
At around 7am, city of Burnet Police Department officers located Ybarra within the city limits and he was taken into custody without incident.
Ybarra chiseled away a cinder block from the wall under the sink in his cell, according to published reports. Over three days preceding his escape, Ybarra reportedly used towels to hide his work. After he made a hole large enough to crawl through, Ybarra left the facility through a skylight.
Ybarra was interviewed by local authorities, the Burnet County Sheriff’s Office reported. The Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) was contacted and arrangements were made for his immediate transport to the state prison. He departed Burnet County at approximately noon and arrived at the TDCJ facility at 5:30pm on March 1.
The Texas Commission on Jail Standards has since found further deficiencies in several cells at the jail, mainly in the construction of concrete blocks and reinforcement bars, and has deemed the facility non-compliant. The Burnet County Jail is called a private-public jail as the county sheriff’s office supervises the facility and LaSalle Southwest Corrections operates it.
Get Notifications on Your Cell
The emergency notification system notifies citizens by cell phone in situations where property or human life is in danger within the 10-county region, which includes Bastrop, Blanco, Burnet, Caldwell, Fayette, Hays, Lee, Llano, Travis and Williamson counties.
People may link their cell number to one or more locations within region, including their homes, businesses and the homes of relatives. If a participating local government activates the system for an area that contains a location that has been registered to a particular cell number, the system will attempt to send the emergency message to that cell phone.
Anyone can register online at wireless.capcog.org.
At around 7am, the escapee was apprehended by Burnet police department officers.
On Thursday morning, March 1, Burnet County reported a jail escape. The reported escapee is 40-year-old Johnny Angel Ybarra, a Hispanic male 5 feet, 2 inches tall, 148 pounds with black hair and brown eyes. He may be wearing jail clothes. He was last seen at 12:30am. Ybarra is serving 3 life sentences for rape and is considered dangerous.
Burnet County advises everyone to be on alert, lock windows and doors, and call 911 if you see the subject.