SAN BENITO, Guatemala, Sun. May 27, 2019– Joseph Ryan Budna, 38, who has been serving a 30-year jail sentence for kidnapping and other crimes in neighboring Guatemala, escaped this morning from a hospital in San Benito, Guatemala.
Police said that after he requested to see a doctor because he was ill, Budna was taken to the hospital for medical attention, but he escaped from the facility, although the details of how he was able to do so are not yet known.
Prensa Libre, Guatemala’s leading newspaper, reported that he took advantage of the minimum security at the hospital.
Guatemala’s national police and agents of its judicial system are now on the hunt to recapture him.
Budna, 38, a former freelance reporter in Belize, was initially convicted on kidnapping and abduction charges in 2013, and then again in 2014 by a court in Guatemala.
According to the Guatemalan media, Budna was attacked in jail as a result of escalating tensions along the Belize-Guatemala border following the death of a 13-year-old minor which resulted from a shootout between a patrol of Belizean soldiers and rangers, and Guatemalans who had entered Belizean territory illegally.
Budna was among those wounded in the scuffle when almost a dozen prisoners were attacked in the jail. However, details regarding the severity of Budna’s injuries were not revealed.
According to Channel 5’s online archive and police reports, Budna had had run-ins with the law in Belize prior to his departure to Guatemala. On February 29, 2000, he was sentenced to ten years in prison for an aggravated and unnatural crime against a 14-year-old boy. However, he had been released by 2008.
On October 11, 2006, while a prisoner at the Kolbe Foundation, he allegedly attempted to take his life by jumping from a tower.