FARMVILLE, Va. (WRIC) — Two inmates escaped from Piedmont Regional Jail – and jail officials didn’t sound the alarm for over 24 hours.

Now, as persistent staffing and security issues come to light, federal authorities are removing their inmates from the facility. That could leave the jail with a multi-million dollar budget shortfall.

The Piedmont Regional Jail is disputing details of a jailbreak given by FBI agents last week, while financial records reveal the facility struggled with staffing issues over the last year.

Park and Ride

A criminal complaint filed against Adriana Marin Sotelo by an FBI agent in North Carolina alleges that Sotelo conspired to help her brother, convicted murderer Alder Marin Sotelo, escape from Piedmont Regional Jail.

The FBI claims Adriana purchased a used Ford Mustang, then paid two unidentified individuals to drop the car off in a jail parking lot. Then, federal agents say Alder Sotelo was captured on video scaling the jail’s fence and “leaving the jail parking lot in a red Mustang.”

Now, the jail, in its own statement, has disputed that version of events, writing that the car, in fact, “was not parked on jail property, but rather in a lot offsite.”

Sotelo, shown here alongside the car he used to escape Piedmont regional Jail.

8News has requested the video footage cited by the FBI in their criminal complaint, which allegedly shows the car leaving the jail’s parking lot.

Another inmate, Bruce Callahan, 44, escaped through the same door nearly 21 hours later — and jail authorities didn’t notify local authorities of the escapes until four hours after Callahan left through a rear door.

Both Callahan and Sotelo were later re-captured after a multi-day manhunt, with Sotelo arrested by Mexican authorities south of the border and Callahan turning himself in on the campus of Longwood University, less than three miles away from the jail.

The FBI reported that the red mustang driven by Sotelo was found in Eagle Pass, Texas on Tuesday, May 9.

Security on Site

According to documents obtained by 8News, the jail struggled for months to fully staff the facility, with more than 20 open security positions for at least six months leading up to the escapes.

The jail does not publicly list the number of security officers on staff, but according to financial documents published last year, as of June 2022, the facility had 106 active, full-time employees.

That same month, at the monthly meeting of the jail’s governing board, the facility listed 25 staff vacancies, including 24 security officers, for a “full staffing” level in June 2022 of 131 employees.

While conditions in the jail may have changed since then, the latest published staff vacancies — released on March 15 — indicate that there were 27 open positions for security officers. That’s just over 20% of the estimated “full staffing” level given in June 2022.

Board members also discussed broken cell locks in the jail’s maximum-security wing at their Oct. 19, 2022, meeting, where they reportedly identified them as an “area of great concern to the security of the facility.”

Now, the regional jail board writes that those locks were not involved in Sotelo’s escape, as they claim he was housed in a different unit and instead broke the locks on an exterior door.

“While it is true that the Piedmont Regional Jail Authority Board has discussed door lock replacement in previous meetings, such discussions pertained to interior doors in a different housing pod from which the inmates escaped,” they wrote. “The replacement of these interior locks is part of the capital improvement plan for the Jail.”

A Federal Issue

In the wake of the escapes, the jail now says Federal Marshal’s intend to remove all federal inmates from the jail while the facility completes their internal investigation into the escapes. Those inmates make up over 40% of the jail’s population.

“The PRJ Jail Board is looking to make adjustments to the FY 24 budget to include the anticipated reduction in expenditures and revenues,” the jail wrote in a statement Wednesday.

According to a financial report published last year, the jail receives $65 a day per federal inmate, or about $23,000 a year.

According to the jail’s offender lookup tool, they currently hold 250 inmates. That would mean around 100 of those inmates are federal — suggesting that the jail receives around $2.3 million a year in federal payments which could soon be taken away.

That would mean losing over 18% of last year’s reported operating revenue. ABC 11 in North Carolina reports that the jail is considering “reprioritizing projects and not filling some staff vacancies” to address the shortfall.