Wapello County Prisoner Escapes, Authorities Asking for Help in Search

WAPELLO COUNTY, Iowa  --  The Wapello County Sheriff's Office is asking for the public's help finding a prisoner who escaped the Ottumwa Regional Health Center.

Officials say 31-year-old Nelson Mendoza was receiving medical treatment at the center early Sunday morning when he escaped custody. He was being held in the Wapello County Jail for willful injury, assault, interference with official acts, and possessing contraband in a correctional facility.

Mendoza is described as a Hispanic male, 5'7" tall, weighing 200 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes. He was last seen wearing tan shorts and a black and white Wapello County Jail shirt. He also has a bulldog tattoo on his right forearm.

He was last seen just north of the health center when he entered a wooded area and could not be located by authorities. Anyone with information regarding Mendoza's location is asked to contact the Wapello County Sheriff’s Office (641-684-4350) or the Ottumwa Police Department (641-683-0661).