Suspected horse abuser caught by Durango police chief after escaping jail

Crime

DURANGO, Colo. (KDVR) — The Durango Police Department is making headlines for quickly catching an inmate that escaped from jail on Tuesday. The department’s police chief chased the inmate into a nearby river and arrested him just 26 minutes after his escape.

Chief Robert Brammer happened to be in the right place at the right time, driving down the road noticing the escapee in just his underwear.

“I just happened to look up on the hillside and see somebody match the description,” Brammer said. “It’s not every day you see someone running through the bushes in their white boxer shorts.”

Brammer immediately recognized the inmate as 25-year-old Jonah Barrett-Lesko. Lesko has been in and out of prison all summer. His most notable offense was allegedly sexually abusing a horse. He also pleaded guilty to several burglary charges. His sentencing was scheduled for Thursday, however Barrett-Lesko escaped from the La Plata County jail on Tuesday afternoon.

Witnesses who saw him on the outside thought he looked suspicious and called 911. 

“They saw somebody changing out of orange clothing, which is indicative of someone escaping jail,” Brammer said.

Brammer doesn’t know how the escape happened, but he did put an end to it, chasing Barrett-Lesko down into a river. With the help from other officers, Barrett-Lesko eventually surrendered, only enjoying 26 minutes of freedom.

“Right now, being paired with the guy that caught the horse molester, is now my claim to fame at the moment,” Brammer said.

Barrett-Lesko will face additional charges for attempting to escape prison.

The alleged horse abuse happened on June 17 at the La Plata County Fairgrounds. Barrett-Lesko was apparently caught on camera. The horse owners said they saw it happen on the camera’s livestream which was monitoring the horse’s stall.

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