Capt. Adan Mendoza said James Payne, 33, of Santa Fe was booked into the Santa Fe County jail on charges of burglary, escape and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Mendoza said the incident began about 11 a.m. when sheriff’s deputies were called to investigate a burglary in the Tierra Real Mobile Home Park off Airport Road.
Payne was identified as a suspect, and was picked up about an hour later by Santa Fe police, who had responded to reports of a fight outside Santa Fe Place mall. Payne had been involved in the fight, and he was recognized by officers as the burglary suspect based on a sheriff’s alert, Mendoza said.
Payne was turned over to deputies who took him to the hospital when he complained of injuries from the fight. At the hospital, Mendoza said, Payne, who had not been dressed in a hospital gown, took off after handcuffs were removed so he could be X-rayed.
No one was injured during the escape, Mendoza said, and there was no door-to-door search of businesses or residences.
Officers from the sheriff’s office, state police and Santa Fe Police Department surrounded the hospital, but Payne eluded the net. A call from someone at the high school who had apparently confronted Payne prompted officers to refocus their search around the school at 100 Siringo Road.
Mendoza said Payne was found about 1:30 p.m. hiding under a staircase on the school campus.
The sheriff’s office is investigating the circumstances of Payne’s escape to determine “how this could have been avoided,” Mendoza said