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SAN ANTONIO – An inmate at a Texas county jail on Thursday was caught hiding in a closet and wearing a spare deputy’s uniform in what authorities believe was an escape attempt.

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According to Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar, Aaron Allen Voyce, 22, was scheduled to appear in a Zoom court hearing on the seventh floor of the county jail, KSAT-TV reported.

Voyce had been at the jail for about six weeks after his arrest on animal cruelty charges for allegedly fatally beating his family’s dog with a baseball bat and on an aggravated assault charge, according to Bexar County online booking records.

When Voyce did not appear for his hearing, officials began searching for him at about 2 p.m. CDT, the San Antonio Express-News reported.

At about the same time, Salazar said a fire alarm was pulled on the fifth floor. Officials discovered a pair of sandals worn by inmates in a vacant office and then found Voyce hiding in a fifth-floor closet that held air-conditioning ductwork, according to the newspaper.

Salazar said he believed that Voyce pulled the alarm by mistake.

Voyce was wearing a jail deputy’s uniform that had patches but no badge, KSAT reported. His inmate uniform was found nearby and he was returned to custody without incident, according to the television station.

During a news conference, Salazar said some ceiling tiles were also found missing. Authorities believe that Voyce may have been trying to escape from the jail, although the case remains under investigation. Salazar said officials will decide whether Voyce will be charged for an attempted escape.

“I don’t know that he even understands what he did to get here; I don’t know that he understands what he did today,” Salazar told reporters. “And is adding a charge going to help the situation at all anyway? Or is it just going to be prolonging a stay in a jail for somebody that shouldn’t be here in the first place?

“Clearly, we need to handle this inmate more carefully.”