Homestead - South Dade

Escaped South Miami-Dade inmates have been apprehended

Manuel Jesus Guzman
Manuel Jesus Guzman Miami-Dade Corrections

Two inmates on separate work details as part of Miami-Dade County’s hailed Boot Camp program walked off their jobs Thursday, causing the lockdown of several nearby schools and a wide-ranging search. Both men have since been captured.

The two men, according to Miami-Dade County Corrections spokeswoman Janelle Hall, are James Dukes, 20, and Manuel Jesus Guzman, also 20.

Dukes was serving time for burglary, grand theft and criminal mischief.

Guzman was convicted of carjacking and robbery.

Though the two escapees were cutting grass in different locations, Hall said he didn’t know if their escapes were coincidence or a coordinated effort.

“We just don’t know yet,” Hall said.

Dukes was working in a field at Southwest 248th Street and 112th Avenue, and Guzman was about a mile away at Southwest 255th Terrace and 134th Avenue. Dukes was caught without incident at 4 p.m. near Southwest 216th Street and 108th Avenue.

Goulds Elementary and Somerset Academy Silver Palms Charter School were placed on lockdown shortly after the men were discovered missing just before noon and as law enforcement and corrections officials continued searching.

The county’s Boot Camp program — which is frequently on the chopping block around budget time — has been widely hailed over the years as one of the strongest rehabilitation methods used in the southeastern United States.

The program, which generally serves nonviolent and often first-time offenders, serves as a last effort to get criminals back on the right track. Those entering the program are chosen by judges, attend school during the day, and often do work details in the afternoon.

Late Thursday afternoon police caught Dukes without incident near Southwest 216th Street and 108th Avenue.

Guzman was apprehended in the area of Southwest 247th Street and Southwest 109th Avenue. He was transported to the South District station for further questioning.