KISSIMMEE – A corrections officer at the Osceola County Jail first heard it around 4 a.m. this morning: the loud banging sound coming from a cell block.
What they found was an inmate, Hector Luis Campos, banging his fists against the wall. He wasn’t looking for attention, though — quite the opposite. The officers reported that he had broken off a small piece of paint and mortar from the wall, which had fallen into the toilet, and he was using his fingers to chip away at the tiny hole some more.
Campos, it seems, was looking to escape.
“Criminals are not always the smartest,” said Twis Lizasuain, public information officer for the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office.
Sheriff’s deputies got a call from the Osceola County Corrections Department at 402 Simpson Road around 6:15 this morning. The corrections officer told deputies he’d been working in the CE section of the jail, which houses more closely supervised inmates, when he heard the loud banging noise and went to investigate.
He conducted a check and found everything was secure, then heard the banging again, and confirmed it was coming from one of the cells.
When he went to check on the security camera, the officer noticed something was blocking the view of cell block 5C. It turned out to be a bed sheet.
The corrections officer conducted a search of the cell block and found the brick near the door frame of Campos’ cell had been broken.
Campos, 21, of 344 Colony Court in Poinciana, was alone in his cell. According to the corrections officer, Campos responded to being discovered by saying he was “sorry.”
Based on the evidence taken at the scene, Osceola County Sheriff’s deputies charged Campos with attempted escape and criminal mischief, another criminal complaint to add to his record. Campos was in jail on an unoccupied burglary charge and was headed for state prison, Lizasuain said.
“We got the report around 6 o’clock, but the jail reported that they heard the banging sound a little after 4 a.m.,” she said. “I don’t know if he had been doing this for days, but they heard the banging sound and he had put a piece of some of his bed sheets over the security camera, so that’s why the corrections officer was not able to see into the cell.
“He was trying to chisel his way out of his cell with his hands,” Lizasuain added. “That was his weapon, his hands. He didn’t have an actual tool to use, or anything in the cell with him. He was banging on the wall, and then he was using his fingers to try to break loose the bricks. It’s comical.”
Even more absurd, she said, is that Campos didn’t quite understand where that solid brick wall led to. It wasn’t the outside, with a clear path toward his escape.
“He wasn’t going to get far because the wall he was chiseling away at went to the recreation room,” she said. “Think about it — you’re in your cell, and you get to the big rec area. That’s where he was going.”
Of course, Campos would have needed a few decades, at least, to chisel his way through the wall, Lizasuain said.
“It was not even an inch that he was able to damage in the wall,” she said. ”He didn’t even get a whole brick out of it. It was maybe a centimeter or two.”
But he did cause some damage to the cell – destruction of public property that Campos will now be responsible for paying back to the county, Lizasuain said.
“They said it was approximately $2,000 worth of damage,” she said.
Although Campos never came close to escaping from the county jail, Lizasuain said he still faces a new third degree felony charge.
“The statute reads whether it’s attempted escape or an actual escape, it’s the same charge,” she said. “The statute is ‘attempted escape,’ but it would be similar to an escape charge. He’s still going to state prison on a previous burglary. This new charge is just added on to what he was already serving.”
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