COLUMBIA, SC (WSPA)- A South Carolina inmate who was on the run for 40 years is back behind bars tonight. Jose Chico Romero was on the run since the late 1970s.
It’s a manhunt that spans 40 years and more than 600 miles after an Romero walked away from a work detail.
“We do have nationwide agencies that are going to try and find you,” SC Dept. of Corrections Director Bryan Stirling said, sending a message to inmates thinking of escaping. “We will not stop. What you’re going to have to do for the rest of your life is look over your shoulder and wonder if the next knock at my door the police to bring me back to finish my charges and add additional charges.”
The warning comes after the recent capture of a South Carolina inmate who had been on the run for the past 40 years.
Wednesday, Jose Romero’s luck came to an end after an arrest in Delaware led to a fingerprint match to his sentence in South Carolina.
“Apparently he was drunk and loitering outside of an establishment and two days later his fingerprints came back and they arrested him,” Stirling continued.
Romero walked away from an Anderson County work detail in December 1979. He was serving time for an armed robbery in Aiken County. It was an escape that many agencies kept on their radar despite the gap in time.
“I don’t care if it’s 40 minutes or 40 years we are going to try and find you and that’s what happened here,” Stirling said.
Romero still has 7 to 8 years left on his sentence in South Carolina. He will also face an additional 10 to 15 years for the escape.