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Lookout Mountain youth facility employee, who resigned, accused of helping inmate escape

Posted at 5:39 AM, Sep 25, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-25 07:39:19-04

GOLDEN, Colo. — An investigation found that a former employee at Lookout Mountain Youth Services Center helped an inmate escape in 2017 and provided shelter for him for about a year, before police located and arrested him, according to an affidavit.

The investigation began on July 16, when a Golden police officer was dispatched to the facility to talk with a parole officer in the division of youth corrections. That woman said she had met with a parole client in early 2019 and during the routine questioning, felt that something was off, according to the affidavit.

She told the officer that she noticed the man was wearing a wedding band and his attorneys, who were also present, told him not to talk about the specifics of his relationship with his spouse. She also noted that the man had a lengthy escape on his record — he’d escaped in August 2017 and wasn’t found until October 2018, according to the affidavit.

READ MORE: Golden police say Lookout Mountain Youth Services Center incidents are taking a toll on resources

After that meeting, the parole officer requested a letter that was written to the courts in support of the man for an upcoming parole sentencing. She said it was written by Kirsten Gonzalez. She recognized the name, she told the police officer, because Gonzalez was the parole client’s behavioral health specialist at the facility when he was incarcerated, according to the affidavit.

The parole officer became suspicious that Gonzalez may have helped the man escape in 2017. When she passed this information along to the facility, she learned that Gonzalez had been escorted off the property on July 16 and had resigned from her position.

At this point, the facility notified the Golden Police Department.

A detective with the police department called Gonzalez, who was reluctant to speak with him. When he asked her to come to the police department to talk more, she agreed, but shortly after hanging up, the detective received a call from an attorney, who said she wouldn’t be speaking with police, according to the affidavit.

On July 23, the detective met with an assistant director of the facility. During this meeting, the assistant director said she had met with the acting director and Gonzalez on July 16, the same day Gonzalez resigned. After two or three questions related to their suspicions about her relationship with the parole client, Gonzalez “admitted she ‘did it.’” Gonzalez said she signed a home pass so the man could go to his friend’s funeral, according to the affidavit. He escaped during that time.

Detectives with the police department went to the apartment complex where Gonzalez lived and while the property manager and neighbors said they hadn’t seen her with a man, the maintenance supervisor said he’d seen her with a boyfriend multiple times. He said he noticed the man when he’d enter the apartment for routine maintenance, according to the affidavit.

Golden police finally located the man and arrested him on Oct. 19, 2018.

Gonzalez faces charges of official misconduct, aiding an escape and accessory to an escape.

She has a preliminary hearing Tuesday at 1 p.m.