Jail inmate escapes from kitchen crew

A 20-year-old man escaped from a Santa Cruz jail Friday morning when he walked away from the kitchen area, according to the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office.

Karma Mendenhall, 20, was part of a kitchen crew providing food preparation services for county jails.

He was working in the kitchen at the main jail at 259 Water St. in Santa Cruz when he left the work crew and started running toward the levee area behind the jail, sheriff’s officials said.

Mendenhall was an inmate at the Rountree Minimum Security Jail near Watsonville, but traveled to other jails as part of the kitchen crew. He was convicted of misdemeanor offenses and scheduled for release on Oct. 29.

He is described as a white man, standing 6 feet 1 inch tall, weighing 155 pounds with brown hair and hazel eyes. He was wearing jail-issued green pants and a jail-issued tan sweater when he escaped.

Anyone with information about his whereabouts has been asked to contact the sheriff’s office at (831) 741-1121.