KEARNEY — A second former resident of Kearney’s Youth Rehabilitation and Treatment Center has been sent to prison for two separate robbery and escape incidents at the facility last year.
Edward Gonzales, 18, was sentenced Friday in Buffalo County District Court to four to nine years in prison for felony robbery and felony escape on Feb. 24 and April 9 at YRTC. Judge Ryan Carson gave him 273 days credit for time already served in jail.
About 12:49 a.m. Feb. 24 a female YRTC staffer reported being attacked by Gonzales and Luke Cuello after Cuello had asked her for ibuprofen. As the staffer got to the door of Cuello’s room Gonzales sneaked up and was standing next to her.
Court records indicate Gonzales hit the staffer’s work radio off of her right side, making it inaccessible. Cuello shoved his door open and Gonzales pushed her into Cuello’s room where Gonzales punched her in the left eye.
Cuello put his left hand around her throat, records say, and used his right hand to cover her nose and mouth, and pulled her to the ground. Cuello then wrapped his legs around her waist.
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While on the ground Gonzales took the keys from her pocket and left the room. Cuello stood her up by her neck, then threw her back to the ground and left, records indicate.
The woman summoned help from another staffer. She initially received an ice pack for her injuries, and then was transported to CHI Health Good Samaritan where she was treated for her injuries and released.
She then returned to YRTC and drove home. A portion of the incident was captured on YRTC video surveillance.
The teens were apprehended a short time later and returned to YRTC where they were arrested.
Around 10:15 p.m. April 9 a YRTC staffer was checking rooms in the Dickson Behavior Stabilization unit at the facility when he was attacked by Gonzales and Cuello. The investigation revealed Cuello had walked up to the staffer and punched him in the left cheek and upper lip, then grabbed the man’s neck and face, covering his mouth with his hand to prevent him from yelling for help.
Gonzales took the man’s radio off his belt and threw it, then took door keys from the staffer’s pocket so he could release another YRTC teen from his room, then unlocked an exit door.
Gonzales and three other teens escaped from the Dickson unit. The staffer’s keys later were located near a north exit door. It is considered robbery for a resident to take a staff member’s keys.
The staffer then drove himself to a Kearney hospital where he was treated for his injuries. The teens were apprehended and returned to YRTC where they were arrested.
Cuello, 18, is serving a one- to six-year prison sentence for robbery and strangulation resulting in serious bodily injury, both felonies, in the Feb. 24 incident. He wasn’t charged in connection with the April incident.