The last of three inmates who escaped from the New Mexico state prison in a daring helicopter breakout was found hiding in bushes along the Rio Grande early Tuesday, ending a 15-hour manhunt.
Murderer Daniel Mahoney was arrested in the Los Lunas area at 12:50 a.m., a state police dispatcher said.The convicts who fled with Mahoney - murderer Francis Preston Mitchell, 26, and Randy Lackey, 36, imprisoned for larceny - were captured Monday soon after the three of them jumped aboard a helicopter that had swooped into the Penitentiary of New Mexico.
Mahoney managed to stay at-large for 15 hours before being captured. Officers first noticed him when they heard branches rustling in the underbrush about 100 yards from some houses on the edge of the city limits.
Dozens of law officers, using tracking dogs were involved in the manhunt for Mahoney, who was flushed out from under a bridge along the Rio Grande about 80 miles southwest of the penitentiary, said Valencia County Sheriff deputy-dispatcher Mark Zuni. He was unarmed.
Mahoney was taken to the state police office in Los Lunas and was returned to the prison at 3 a.m. The two inmates who escaped with Mahoney were captured after an aerial chase shortly after the breakout Monday.
Corrections officials said an Aerospatiale Gazelle helicopter with a pilot and woman - believed to be Mahoney's common-law wife - flew into the Santa Fe prison at 9:50 a.m., landed in a recreation yard, picked up the waiting inmates and roared away to the south.
"Four shots were fired at the helicopter and it took off, with the inmates aboard," said Priscilla Gallegos, a prison spokeswoman.
The helicopter then flew about 90 miles to a small airport in Los Lunas, where Mahoney, Lackey and the woman jumped to the ground during a gunfight with a pursuing U.S. Customs helicopter.
Inmate Randy Lackey, 36, of Clovis, N.M., stole a truck and was captured in Los Lunas after a chase. Mahoney, 30, of Hillsborough County, Fla., escaped on foot. Authorities said Mahoney and Lackey both had handguns.
Mitchell, of Summit County, Utah, remained in the helicopter and held a gun to the head of the pilot, a witness said, apparently forcing him to fly from Los Lunas to the Albuquerque International Airport.