A convicted rapist, Leonardo Lopez Jr., 36, escaped from the Watonwan County jail in St. James, Minnesota on Monday evening. He fled while being transferred within the jail. After a search, Lopez was captured in a field about 6 miles north of town on Wednesday night following a chase. St. James police and sheriff’s deputies apprehended him after he ran into a nearby field. Two individuals, aged 36 and 52, who were in a pickup truck with Lopez, were arrested on suspicion of aiding and abetting his escape. Additionally, a 20-year-old woman and a 19-year-old man were arrested for their alleged roles in assisting Lopez. All four individuals are currently in jail awaiting charges.
Court records reveal that Lopez was initially arrested in early August for failing to report a new address as a state-registered predatory sex offender. In 2006, he was convicted of third-degree criminal sexual conduct in Watonwan County. Lopez also has prior convictions in Minnesota for domestic abuse, burglary, and fleeing police.