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DYA clients escape from Mangilao facility

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by Nick Delgado

Guam - Two clients at the Department of Youth Affairs escaped from the facility. And it seems the department has no one else to blame but themselves for the lack of supervision while the pair were in an unsecured area.

"These two were quite quick," said DYA director Adonis Mendiola. Two teens managed to escape the agency's compound in Mangilao just before five' o'clock on Monday afternoon. Mendiola says the two were detailed to conduct ground maintenance and apparently it wasn't difficult for them to get away.

The problem, neighboring residents say, is the several feet of unsecured fence line throughout the compound. Witnesses say they saw the two clients go out of the unsecured area and into the jungle.

"The two put down their bush cutter and it looked like they were just going to take a pee behind the bamboo bunch here so then they went back to pick up their shirt and they walked off," explained resident Ben Torres, who says his sister saw the entire thing happen through her kitchen window yesterday.

"They just went and disappeared into the woods and my sister picked up the phone and called some officer inside or some trustee and the audacity of this guy who is talking to my sister is asking, 'did you see them jump over the fence?', and she says hello, I saw them walk over to the end of this fence which was never completed," he recalled.

DYA superintendent Greg San Miguel says the fence was damaged after Supertyphoon Pongsona, but when they got the funds a few years ago for repairs, apparently it wasn't wasn't enough. "For whatever reason, the measurement back then two years or after one of our typhoons, the measurement wasn't accurate and for that reason we got a one hundred foot gap in the back side," he said.

That gap was enough for the two teens, ages 17 and 18, to get away. Because the fence repairs aren't expected to be completed for another two to three months, Mendiola says DYA will have to make significant improvements to supervising the clients, which he says was lacking in yesterday's escape.

"Supervision was the key," he stated, "and maybe the oversight in this process, its going to have to come down to holding our staff accountable and more importantly and make sure supervision is kept at all times."

The first client is described at being a 17-year-old male Chuukese with a dark complexion standing 5'8", weighing about 200 pounds. He is said to have a tattoo on his left forearm depicting a heart symbol, a picture of a heart with a tag spelling his name on his left arm as well as scars on his left forearm and a tattoo of an incomplete heart on his right arm.

The second client is an 18-year-old male standing 5'9" also weighing 200 pounds. The two have short black hair and brown eyes were last seen wearing brown pants and a plain white t-shirt.

While law enforcement authorities continue their search this evening, members of the public are asked to report any sightings immediately to GPD at 472-8911 or Guam Crimestoppers at 477-HELP (4357).

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