Two men convicted of murders that occurred in Orange County were mistakenly released from a Florida prison because of forged documents, according to officials, who believe the men may be in the Orlando area.
The Orange County Sheriff's Office says Joseph Jenkins and Charles Walker were released separately from a prison in the Panhandle in late September and early October. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement learned about the mistake Tuesday.
Jenkins and Walker lived in Central Florida and their convictions derived from crimes committed in Orange County and the city of Orlando.
Deputies said Joseph Jenkins, serving a life sentence for a 1998 first-degree murder conviction, escaped Sept. 27. Walker, convicted on murder charges and also issued a life sentence, escaped Oct. 8.
"These two individuals are out. They shouldn't be, and we want to get them back in custody," said Orange County sheriff's Captain Angelo Nieves. "This shouldn't have happened, but it did, and our concern is to get these individuals into custody."
The Florida Department of Corrections said it would not speculate whether they thought Walker and Jenkins were working together or could now be together.
OCSO said it is using all resources to apprehend the two and bring them into custody. The Orlando Police Department is also assisting.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement has launched an investigation into the circumstances of the release. Florida Department of Corrections Secretary Michael Crews has pledged his support for state and local law enforcement efforts in locating the suspects.
In a statement released by the Florida Department of Corrections, it stated:
"Inmates Walker and Joseph (Jenkins) were both released in accordance with Department of Corrections policy and procedure; however their releases were based on fraudulent modifications that had been made to the court orders that determines their length of sentence."
Anyone with information about the whereabouts of the inmates should contact police, Crimeline, the FDLE or the Orange County Sheriff's Office.
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