By Jon Johnson
THATCHER – As in most cases, the taste of freedom wasn’t long in the mouth for escaped Arizona State Prison Complex-Safford inmate Juan C. Nunley.
Nunley was located hiding in an irrigation pipe in Thatcher near First Avenue and Church Street around 4 p.m., Thursday. Arizona Department of Corrections chase team officers were assisted by Thatcher and Safford Police as well as deputies with the Graham County Sheriff’s Office.
He had been missing since 11 a.m., Wednesday after he apparently walked off from his position on a supervised work crew near the prison’s sewage pond. Gila Valley Central was the first to report the missing inmate at about 8 p.m.
The DOC search teams had been scouring Thatcher all day after a K-9 crew picked up on Nunley’s scent and discarded clothes were located.
Nunley was admitted into prison on June 9, 2015, for theft and trafficking in stolen property and was scheduled to be released May 6, 2020. Other offenses include burglary in 1999, escape in the second degree and misconduct involving weapons in 2003, and another charge of misconduct involving weapons in 2011.
Gila Valley Central will update this article when possible.