Denver Police confusion caused delay in radio bulletin about sex offender escaping from police HQ

DENVER - Denver police say police confusion caused a 90-minute delay in sending out a radio bulletin asking area law enforcement agencies to lookout for a sex offender who escaped Wednesday afternoon from police headquarters.

Initially a police official indicated the 911 dispatch center might have been responsible for the delay in the be-on-the-lookout bulletin. But Denver Police spokesman Matt Murray made clear on Thursday that police -- not the communications center -- made the mistake.

Murray said here's how the error happened:

-- At 12:18 p.m. Wednesday, convicted sex offender Eugene Felix Martinez, 48, somehow slipped out of handcuffs securing him to a bench in a first-floor room of police headquarters and he walked out of building to freedom. Officers had earlier arrested the man for failing to register as a sex offender.

-- About six minutes after the escape, police realized the prisoner was gone and several officers launched a search inside and outside the police department for the fugitive. In the rush to find Martinez, officers incorrectly assumed someone has alerted 911 dispatch to send out the BOLO bulletin on the escape.

-- Ninety minutes after the escape, police realized that communications had not been informed and asked dispatchers to end out the bulletin.

Martinez remained at  large on Thursday and police were asking people along the Front Range to call 911 if they spot the man. Denver Police also contacted news organizations in Pueblo, where Martinez has also lived, asking them to publicize the search for the fugitive.

Martinez is approximately 5-foot-5 and weighs about 120 pounds. He has a scar on his forehead and a tattoo on his chest of a guitar with wings and the name "Diane." When he escaped, he was wearing a black zip-up hoodie and black jeans, with blue sweat pants under the jeans.

Police are offering a $2,000 reward for anyone who can help find Martinez.

Denver Police warn that Martinez has a violent criminal history that includes convictions for child sexual assault in both Pueblo and Denver dating to 1994.