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Inmate details escape from Fulton County Jail

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FULTON COUNTY (WEEK) -- A person identifying himself as 26-year-old Cody Villalobos says he and three other inmates escaped the Fulton County Jail through a hole made by a toilet that fell off the wall in their cellblock.

Villalobos called the WEEK newsroom Thursday evening from the Fulton County Jail, where he is now back in custody following his recapture.

"The toilet was already broke," Villalobos said. "I went to sit on it, and it started falling. So I got up and it just completely fell off the wall. And it's just a hole right there where the catwalk is so they can do maintenance and stuff."

Villalobos says it all started when they were moved to a new cellblock with a broken toilet. A table in their old cellblock had fallen off the wall and injured two other inmates. One of those inmates was fellow escapee Zachary Hart.

Villalobos said they went through the hole, climbed down a ladder and exited through a side door, something he says anyone would have done.

"We was released, I feel like, because it was too planned," Villalobos said.

Fulton County Sheriff Jeff Standard has said the inmates escaped because of a "deficiency" at the jail, which has since been fixed. Asked repeatedly about what that deficiency was over the course of the last two weeks, Standard said he cannot comment further.

MORE: Fulton County Sheriff still silent on how 4 inmates escaped the jail

"I never discuss any investigations or personnel or anything. It's just my policy," Standard said on July 13.

Surveillance footage obtained by 25 News through a Freedom of Information Act request, shows what appear to be some of their first moments of freedom.

Villalobos confirmed the footage shows his escape around 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday July 7th. Sheriff Standard has not confirmed when the escape happened.

Villalobos insisted during our phone call that he was trying to make it to a rehab facility in Peoria while he was out. He ultimately was captured near Farmington less than 24 hours after his escape.

MORE: A full timeline of the search for four escaped Fulton County inmates

We asked him what his message was to the people of Fulton County.

"We are terribly sorry that y'all was scared," Villalobos said. "We was more scared than they were. We didn't mean to scare anybody."

Villalobos says he does regret doing it, in part because the escape put him in a much worse position legally. He was already facing various meth and gun related charges before his escape.

25 News also spoke with Jesse Davis and reached out to Zachary Hart for this story.

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Alex Gaul

Alex Gaul joined WEEK 25 News and Heart of Illinois ABC in January 2021 as a Multimedia Journalist. He formerly worked for KPNX-TV and KAET-TV, both in Phoenix, Arizona. The Illinois-native is an alum of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University.

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