A man who failed to return to Hilltop House community corrections facility on Sunday was apprehended Tuesday in New Mexico by authorities.
Micah Schmitt, 20, left Hilltop House on Sunday with an approved pass for work, but he didn’t return.
“As soon as he’s a second late, it shows up on a computer for our staff,” Hilltop House director John Schmier said.
Based on policy directives, the corrections facility called Oscar’s Cafe, his employer, the La Plata County Jail and Mercy Regional Medical Center. After verifying that he wasn’t at any of those locations, the house sent out a fugitive alert notice to local law enforcement agencies, Schmier said.
An employee of Hilltop House who lives in Shiprock was commuting to work Tuesday when he noticed Schmitt walking toward the town in northwestern New Mexico. The employee called the Sheriff’s Office in San Juan County, New Mexico, and Schmitt was apprehended an hour later, Schmier said.
“It couldn’t have turned out better,” Schmier said.
An escape from a jail is considered a third-degree felony, which could result in four to 16 years in prison. Schmitt was serving a one-year sentence for criminal possession of a financial device. He was originally arrested by Durango Police for possessing credit cards that didn’t belong to him, Schmier said.
Schmitt, who has lived in Hilltop House since May 1, hadn’t shown any signs of trying to escape before, Schmier said. He worked full time at Big O Tires during the week and worked at Oscar’s Cafe on the weekends.
Schmitt, who is from Durango, will not be allowed to return to Hilltop House. He is currently in San Juan County Jail in New Mexico, Schmier said.
This marks the third escape from Hilltop House this year. Maria Flores escaped from the facility Jan. 22 and is still at-large. Austin Phillips, who escaped from Hilltop House on June 4, was apprehended in La Plata County last week, Schmier said.
“I wish escapes didn’t happen at all,” Schmier said. “We typically see it in younger offenders who get scared. It just kind of depends.”