FDLE Commissioner Gerald Bailey said in a news conference this
afternoon that investigators are closing in on suspects involved in the
escape of two convicted murderers from Franklin Correctional
"We have pinpointed suspects and are building a case," he said.
announced that FDLE was offering a $10,000 reward for information in
the case, and Attorney General Pam Bondi was offering a similar reward.
He said the two escaped convicts, who were apprehended over the weekend at a Panama City Beach motel, are not cooperating.
"In law-enforcement terms, they have lawyered up," Bailey said.
said investigators have uncovered two other instances at FCI where
inmates were trying to obtain fraudulent court documents to get out of
Joseph Jenkins and Charles
Walker, both 34, were serving life sentences at Franklin Correctional
Facility in Carrabelle -- about 100 miles from the motel where they were
nabbed Saturday. The forged paperwork indicated their sentences had
been shortened to 15 years.
The men had each been convicted
of unrelated murders -- Jenkins in 1998, Walker in 1999. Jenkins was
released Sept. 27, Walker on Oct. 8.
In both cases, prison
officials contacted the convicts' families to notify them in advance of
the releases. Jenkins uncle, Henry Pearson, picked him up at prison;
Walker's family couldn't make it, so prison officials put him on a bus.
men even registered as felons at an Orlando jail within days of their
release, as required by law. They were photographed and fingerprinted,
but since no outstanding warrants had been issued, they walked out
Bailey, in the news conference at FDLE
headquarters in Tallahassee, said investigators have seized computers
and printers from the FCI library, along with an iPad and mobile phone
from the motel room in Panama City Beach. Forensics experts are scouring
the equipment for clues.
He said that while tips are coming in, the investigation is far from complete.
"I can assure you that our investigation is moving forward," he said, "but I can also assure you we have a way to go."