The Ness County Sheriff says a convicted child rapist who escaped from his jail last weekend used some sort of cutting device to saw through the steel plates that hold the jail bars together.
Benito Cardenas, Jr., was convicted last week of rape and aggravated criminal sodomy of a 7 year-old child. His was prosecuted by the Kansas Attorney General under the state's Jessica's Law.
Sheriff Whipple tells KAKE News that his jail is very old and that the bars of the jail go all the way from the floor to the ceiling. Those bars are held together by metal plates every few feet.
"There's an opening about four feet off the ground that we call the bean hole," Whipple said. "It's where the jailers pass through the inmate food trays or legal paperwork."
Cardenas apparently used a cutting device that he had smuggled in to saw through the steel plate and allow enough room for him to squeeze through the bars.
"He had clearly been doing this over a period of days and he disguised his cuts with white toothpaste so we were never able to identify that he was even cutting," Whipple said.
After Cardenas got outside the jail into the sheriff's office building, he escaped through a hallway and out an exterior door that Whipple says was locked from the outside only.
"We are not allowed to lock that door from the inside by order of the fire marshal," Whipple explained.
Asked if he felt there could have been a way to prevent the escape, Whipple responded by saying "I'm certain that everybody thinks we should have been able to prevent this, but somehow he was able to smuggle in some sort of metal cutting blade. We are not missing any hacksaw blades or saws that we own. We have no idea how he smuggled this in."
Cardenas was later caught in nearby Trego County, but Whipple would not give any details on his capture.