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Last of Five Inmates Who Escaped Puerto Rican Prison in Helicopter Surrenders
By Associated Press
Published: 02/10/2003

The last of five convicted murderers who escaped from prison in a hijacked helicopter turned himself in nearly a month after he got away, police said last week. 
Victor Gonzalez Diaz was among five who climbed aboard the helicopter Dec. 30 as it hovered above the prison roof in the southern city of Ponce. Police soon captured four inmates and arrested two men on charges of hijacking the chartered helicopter, but Gonzalez remained at large for weeks. 
He turned himself in last week at a police station in the San Juan suburb of Bayamon, police said. Gonzalez, who was serving a 113-year sentence for murder and other crimes, arrived with an aunt, a sister and a neighbor, police spokeswoman Maria del Pilar Bon said. 
He was to be charged with escape, air piracy and violating arms laws, Corrections Department spokesman Jose Guillermo Aponte said. 
The helicopter left the five escaped convicts in a mountainous area of central Puerto Rico. One of the four who was initially recaptured reportedly told police the others had killed Gonzalez, but police continued their search. 
Authorities said they had been close to catching Gonzalez as he moved from town to town. 
When he reached the home of relatives over the weekend, he was tired and told a sister he would turn himself in, officer Bill Fernandez told the newspaper El Nuevo Dia. 
Gonzalez had a swollen ankle and scrapes on his legs, Fernandez told the newspaper. Gonzalez told police he had hurt the ankle when he jumped from the helicopter in the countryside. 
He also told police the group worked for seven days to cut through the barred roof of a recreation area at the maximum-security prison. 
One corrections officer who abandoned his post during the escape was suspended pending an investigation, officials said. 
Since July 1, 68 inmates have escaped from correctional institutions in Puerto Rico, officials say. It wasn't immediately clear how many remain at large. 



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