Escaped homicide suspect captured after man discovers inmate in underwear in backyard

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Manhunt underway after suspect in California fatal hostage incident escapes custody

Eric Abril escaped from the Sutter Roseville Medical Center and was last seen on surveillance video near Rainier Court in Rocklin, authorities said.


An escaped inmate accused of killing a hostage in a shootout with police in April was captured Monday standing in his underwear in a creek after a manhunt near Sacramento, according to officials and witnesses.

Eric Abril, 35, was on the run for more than 24 hours after escaping custody from Sutter Roseville Medical Center early Sunday morning after he was able to “defeat his restraints,” according to the Placer County Sheriff’s Office. Officers with numerous local and federal law enforcement agencies desperately searched Roseville and Rocklin, northeast of Sacramento, throughout the day Sunday and Monday.

He was finally located after Rocklin resident Bill Sanchez spotted Abril’s orange jumpsuit lying by the side of the Antelope Creek in Sanchez’s backyard, he told The Times. Sanchez had taken his dog out to the yard when he spotted Abril in his underwear crouching in the creek.


“I started shaking as soon as I saw it. Nobody was around, just me and the dog in the backyard,” Sanchez said. “I look over the deck and there’s the creek that runs all the way through Rocklin and I see an orange jumpsuit laying on the edge.”

Police arrived quickly and approached Abril with their guns raised.

“They told him, ‘Hands in the air or we’ll shoot.’ There was no running or anything. At that point there were four cops with guns drawn,” Sanchez said.

Abril was captured Monday afternoon, the Sheriff’s Office confirmed.

“This has been a trying couple of days,” Placer County Sheriff Wayne Woo said at a Monday news conference announcing the capture. He thanked the community for “their patience and continued support for our organization.”

A headshot of Eric Abril
Eric Abril
(Placer County Sheriff’s Office)

The sheriff added some context Monday about what preceded Abril’s escape.

He noted that Abril had recently been downgraded from being a “two-officer move” to a “one-officer move,” meaning only one officer was needed to transport him from one location to another.

Abril was taken on Saturday night by ambulance to Sutter Roseville Medical Center from jail, Woo said. Abril was able to escape “through a door. He left on foot,” Woo added.

Nayeri and two other men climbed through a cell grate, ascended through a vent on makeshift rungs, and rappelled five stories to the pavement outside the Santa Ana jail in January 2016.

March 16, 2023

The deputy who was responsible for Abril chased him out of the building and lost him in the parking lot, Woo said.


The deputy, who has not yet been interviewed as part of the investigation, is still on active duty, Woo said.

“As sheriff of this entire county, I take full responsibility for this incident, quite frankly,” Woo said. “This should have never happened.”

Abril was charged with murder in the death of James MacEgan, who was shot and killed as he and his wife were held hostage while their captor exchanged gunfire with California Highway Patrol and Roseville Police Department officers on April 6 at Mahany Park. Abril, 35, was shot and injured during the shootout and was taken into custody.

Abril’s escape set the Northern California community on edge as helicopters searched overhead and SWAT teams descended into backyards and swept across open fields.

Michael Torres, a Mexican Mafia member who oversaw gangs in the San Fernando Valley and controlled drug and extortion rackets in the Los Angeles County jail system, was stabbed to death in prison.

July 6, 2023

Scott Colvis usually keeps his .45-caliber pistol locked away in his Rocklin home. For the last 24 hours, though, the gun has been sitting on the night table.

That was the case after Colvis and his wife saw Abril on their Ring camera Sunday morning as he strolled shirtless through their frontyard.

Abril was last seen in the video outside the Colvis home before he was caught, according to the Sheriff’s Office.


“I’m not a big gun guy, but when that happens I pulled it out,” Colvis told The Times. “He killed people. Innocent people. This guy doesn’t seem to care about human life.”

Colvis and his wife were asleep when Abril walked up to the fence separating their front and back yards. The escaped inmate did not even wake up the couple’s German shepherd, Colvis said. It was a beautiful night and Colvis and his wife were sleeping with the back door open, with only a screen keeping unwelcome visitors out, he said.

But Abril did not go into the backyard. Colvis thinks the escapee may have seen the “Beware, German shepherd” sign on the gate.

The brutal 20-minute clip is one of a few dozen graphic videos saved to a thumb drive picked out of the trash by one inmate, and later secreted out of the jail by another.

June 24, 2023

Abril was wearing orange jail pants and no shirt in the surveillance image shared by Colvis.

The manhunt included resources from the Sheriff’s Office, the Roseville Police Department and other local law enforcement agencies. The FBI and the U.S. Marshals Service also assisted with the manhunt.

The Sheriff’s Office said that law enforcement had combed through 64 tips since Abril escaped.


Abril was not shackled.

The escape raised questions about the sheriff’s protocols for handling inmates in custody. Numerous media outlets asked the Sheriff’s Office whether the deputy supervising Abril had fallen asleep at the time of the escape.

“Our preliminary investigation reveals the deputy was not asleep during the incident,” the Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.