Police arrest man, woman accused of helping Santa Clara Co. inmates escape

PALO ALTO, Calif. (KGO) -- Two escaped Santa Clara County inmates are still on the run but investigators have arrested two people they say helped in the escape.

RELATED: Discarded handcuff key, restraints found in Palo Alto escaped inmate investigation

The Sheriff's Office says 44-year-old Marquita Kirk rented a U-Haul van and staged it near the Palo Alto courthouse Monday morning. It was one of the vehicles used in the escape. The Undersheriff said Kirk is inmate Tramel McClough's ex-girlfriend.

The other suspected accomplice is 54-year-old Rene Hunt of East Palo Alto.

Officials have not said how he helped in the escape.

But, both Hunt and Kirk are charged with conspiracy and accessory after the fact.

Undersheriff Carl Neusel also revealed new information about how the escape was possible.

FULL VIDEO: News conference on search for inmates who escaped Palo Alto courthouse
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Authorities held a news conference to provide an update on the search for two inmates who escaped the Palo Alto courthouse this morning.

Investigators believe inmates McCulough and John Bivins smuggled in the handcuff key they used to get out of their restraints. The key was found in the aftermath of the escape.

Neusel said McClough and Bivins were two of five inmates being escorted through the courthouse by two sheriff's deputies when they broke away and ran out of an emergency exit.
The two deputies have 30 years of experience each.

Also, the courthouse had two more deputies on duty Monday morning than it normally would.

McClough and Bivins are co-defendants in two armed robberies. They are considered dangerous. If you see them, you're asked to call 911.

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