LARNED – Two women, each charged with multiple-count felonies, allegedly helped an inmate in the Sexual Predator Treatment Unit at Larned State Hospital escape earlier this year. Both appeared in custody in Pawnee County District Court for their first appearances before Magistrate Judge Julie Cowell Tuesday afternoon, according to a news release from the Pawnee County Attorney’s office.
Rachel Rena Perez, 50, of Larned, and Liliana Guadalupe Houser, 45, now of Garden City, were apprehended by the Pawnee County Sheriff’s Office on charges stemming from an ongoing PCSO investigation into the June 30 escape of John Freeman Colt from the Sexual Predator Treatment Unit of Larned State Hospital. Colt was recaptured by local sheriff’s officers in conjunction with U.S. Marshals in Wayne County, Utah, on Sept. 27. Both women were employed by the Kansas Department of Aging and Disabilities Services (KDADS) at LSH up to the time of Colt’s escape.
The PCSO investigation was continued with assistance from the U.S. Marshals and the LSH special investigator.
Perez is charged with a 15-count felony criminal complaint. The charges are as follows: obstructing in the apprehension or prosecution of a registered sex offender; unlawful sexual relations with a patient while employed by KDADS; nine counts of traffic in contraband in a care and treatment facility; conspiracy to traffic contraband in a care and treatment facility while employed by KDADS; interference with law enforcement through destruction of evidence and providing false information; and conspiracy to commit aggravated escape from the Sexual Predator Treatment Program.
Houser is charged with a 13-count felony criminal complaint. The charges are as follows: two counts of unlawful sexual relations with a patient while employed by KDADS; 10 counts of traffic in contraband in a care and treatment facility while employed by KDADS and obstructing in the apprehension or prosecution of a registered sex offender.
First obtaining arrest warrants through the Pawnee County Attorney’s office, the PCSO arrested Houser at her Garden City residence on Oct. 8. Perez was arrested at her residence in Larned on Oct. 12. Both arrests were made without incident by the PCSO detective assigned to the investigation, with the assistance of the LSH special investigator.
Tuesday afternoon, Judge Cowell advised the defendants of their charges, the possible penalties if convicted and their constitutional rights, including right to counsel.
Under Kansas sentencing guidelines, if convicted, each defendant faces between 31-136 months with the Kansas Department of Corrections, depending upon their criminal histories.
Preliminary hearings have been scheduled for Oct. 26. Perez is currently in custody of the Pawnee County Sheriff in lieu of $75,000 cash or surety bond. Houser is being held in the custody of the Pawnee County Sheriff without bond by prosecution request, due to a concern she poses a flight risk because of her dual Mexican citizenship.