(BAY COUNTY, Fla.) — Officials investigating how two convicted murderers used forged documents to walk out of a Florida prison have “pinpointed suspects” who aided in the escapes and said that additional arrests are “definitely” going to be made.
They have also put up a $10,000 reward for information about accomplices.
Agents have been questioning Joseph Jenkins and Charles Walker at Bay County Jail since they were taken back into custody on Saturday, but neither man has answered any questions about possible accomplices, police have said.
Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Gerald Bailey said Tuesday that Jenkins and Walker have “lawyered up.”
“We will find the details of what led to these escapes with or without their help,” Bailey said. “They have very little to lose, but those who helped them have very much to lose…Talk to us before we find you.”
Bailey said he did not expect any arrests Tuesday, but said, “There definitely will be in the future.”
Bailey said Tuesday that an iPad and mobile phone were found in the hotel room where the men were staying and awaiting transportation coming to Atlanta to take them somewhere else.
Investigators have also seized computers and printers from Franklin’s inmate library, he said.
The forged documents arrived at the Orange County Clerk of Courts through U.S. mail. Laboratory scientists in Pensacola, Fla., are testing the forged documents for DNA, using a method called Touch DNA, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
Touch DNA is a method that analyzes skin cells possibly left on evidence.
Law enforcement officials believe the two men may have paid someone thousands of dollars to create the forged release paper they used to con officials.
The commissioner said that there have been at least seven cases of forged documents for early release in Florida, three of which were successful, including Jenkins and Walker.
Jenkins’ first attempt to free himself was in 2011, but he was caught before he was released.
The third case was a man named Nydeed Nashaddai, who used fake documents in 2009 to get out of jail for 16 hours before he was caught, tried and sentenced to 20 years.
Bailey said officials are “worried” about the possibility of other inmates who may have escaped and are investigating whether or not there are others who have gone free.
Two other prisoners at Franklin have since been found to have been working on acquiring fake documents, he said.
“There’s still a lot that we do not know and there’s still a lot that we have yet to prove,” Bailey said.
Jenkins and Walker were apprehended without incident at the Coconut Grove Motor Inn in Panama City on Saturday evening, officials said.
Jenkins was released on Sept. 27 from the Franklin Correctional Institution. On Oct. 8, Walker was released from the same facility, according to the Orange County Sheriff’s Office. Both releases came as a result of forged documents ordering reduced sentences for the two.
Jenkins, 34, was in jail on a 1998 first-degree murder conviction. He killed a father of six. Walker, also 34, was serving a life sentence for a second-degree murder. He shot a 23-year-old man in 1999.
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