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Dangerous inmate escapes Merced facility
David ONeal Coleman Jr.

The Merced County Sheriff’s Department is searching for an inmate who escaped from jail early Thursday morning.

David O’Neal Coleman Jr., 40, of Merced, was found missing at about 4:45 a.m. Thursday from the John Latoracca Correctional Facility in Merced.

Coleman’s disappearance came to light during a routine inmate check in the housing unit, said sheriff spokesman Deputy Delray Shelton.

It’s suspected Coleman escaped from the facility by crawling up to the roof and climbing over the razor wire fencing. Coleman is believed to have sustained some injuries from his climb over the fence, Shelton said.

Coleman was in jail custody on a variety of drug, weapon and theft charges. The sheriff’s department is advising the public not to approach Coleman if he is spotted, but to call authorities.

“Do not try to impede or apprehend Coleman as he is a dangerous felon,” Shelton said.

Coleman is a white male adult standing six feet tall and weighing around 200 pounds. He has brown hair, brown eyes and facial hair.

Coleman is not the first inmate to escape from the jail. Several others have made rooftop escapes over the last few years. The most recent was in December 2013.

Anyone spotting Coleman is asked to call 911.