Escaped prison inmate is captured in North Hollywood

A prison inmate serving the last year of his sentence in a community program in Los Angeles has been captured after tampering with his GPS monitor and walking off, state corrections officials said.

Joshua Cortez, 30, who was serving time for possessing or receiving forged papers, was found Sunday morning in North Hollywood after going missing two days earlier.

He had been participating in the Male Community Reentry Program, which allows some inmates to finish their sentences at re-entry centers outside of prison. The men receive help finding jobs, as well as drug and mental health treatment if necessary, in hopes that they will become law-abiding citizens.

Cortez was scheduled to be released in September but now faces possible prosecution on escape charges, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said in a news release. He had previously served time for first-degree burglary, then returned to prison in April on the forgery charge. He transferred to the Los Angeles community program in October.

Cortez went missing about 10:10 a.m. Friday, when officials discovered that his GPS device was not working. His last known location was near the North Hollywood Metro station.


He was found at a residence on the 8200 block of Lankershim Boulevard, where a parolee named Robert Romero was living, at about 10:10 a.m. Sunday. Special agents from the corrections department saw Cortez leave the residence.

Romero, who had served time for assault with a deadly weapon, was a known associate of Cortez. He may face charges of harboring an escapee.

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