March 29, 2023 – At approximately 9:30 a.m. today, the Canyon County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) with the assistance of the Caldwell Police Department took into custody a female inmate who attempted to flee while being escorted back to her cell following a court appearance. Elizabeth J. Esparza, age 32, of Caldwell, fled from deputies as they were escorting her back from the courthouse to the all-female Pod 6 jail. Deputies and Caldwell PD Officers apprehended her a few minutes later after locating her hiding near a residence just a few blocks northwest of the jail. Due to Esparza’s violent criminal history and as a safety precaution, Canyon Springs Alternative School was temporarily put on lockdown until Esparza was located and taken back into custody.

Mugshot of Elizabeth J. Esparza

Elizabeth J. Esparza

“Fortunately, we were able to recapture this violent offender right away thanks to the swift action of our deputies and the Caldwell Police Department,” said Sheriff Kieran Donahue. “Their combined efforts helped prevent a bad situation from becoming worse. I am glad our dispatch center was able to immediately contact the nearby school who initiated lockdown procedures until the situation was under control. However, these types of situations highlight the need for Canyon County legislators, or legislators from anywhere in our State, to face the reality of the situation and enact legislation that will address the funding mechanism to build jails in our State without burdening the property owner.”

At the time of her attempted escape, Esparza, a documented gang member, was being held on felony charges of Delivery of a Controlled Substance with Intent to Deliver, Possession of a Controlled Substance, Aggravated Assault, and Destruction of Evidence, along with several misdemeanor charges, including False Imprisonment and Resisting and Obstructing Officers.

Esparza now faces an additional felony Escape charge. She is expected to be arraigned on the new charge tomorrow, March 30, at 1:30 p.m. at the Canyon County Courthouse.

“Today’s attempted escape underscores the safety concerns and limitations posed by our current jail facility,” said CCSO Jail Commander Captain Bill Patchett. “Because we have to use multiple jail facilities to house inmates, deputies are required to escort inmates to court multiple times a day, which only increases the chances of these types of incidents. It is time to put an end to the stop-gap measures the County has relied on for jail space and finally build a safe and secure jail facility that meets the needs of our community and ensures public safety.”