Escaped Florida Killers Surrender at Panama City Hotel

PHOTO: Joseph Jenkins, left, as seen at the Orange County Jail on Sept. 30, 2013 and Charles Walker, right, as seen at Orange County Jail on Oct. 11, 2013. Both men escaped from prison and are currently being pursued in a national manhunt.
Share
Copy

Two convicted murderers who escaped from a Florida prison by using forged release papers surrendered today at a Panama City hotel where they were surrounded by police, law enforcement official said.

Joseph Jenkins and Charles Walker were apprehended without incident at the at Coconut Grove Motor Inn in Panama City, the The Florida Department of Law Enforcement said this evening.

The recapture of the two men came just hours after family members of the two held a news conference to plead with them to surrender.

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.

The team searching for the two fugitives -- which included members of the Bay County Sheriff's Office, the U.S. Marshals Florida Regional Fugitive Task Force, the FDLE, the Florida Department of Corrections and the Panama City Police Department -- developed information two days ago the two men were staying on Panama City Beach.

This afternoon, law enforcement officials said, they narrowed the search to room 227 at the Coconut Grove Motel.

Shortly after 5 p.m. today, about 20 members of the task force surrounded the room and police told Jenkins and Walker to come out. About a minute later, both men came out with their hands in the air and they were taken into custody without incident.

Both men were then taken to the Bay County Jail.

It was not known whether the men -- who were serving time for separate crimes -- worked together to escape the prison, but authorities were investigating whether they got help from someone to forge the paperwork necessary to be released.

Jenkins, 34, was in jail on a 1998 first-degree murder conviction. He killed a father of six.

Charles Walker, also 34, was serving a life sentence for a second-degree murder. He shot a 23-year-old man in 1999.

Just three days after their respective releases, both men brazenly went to the corrections department to register as ex-felons, officials said.

"They come to the booking lobby where they are finger printed and a Voluntary Criminal Registrant form is filled out," a spokeswoman for the corrections department told ABC News in an email.

The sheriff's deputy in the lobby checks for wants and warrants and if there are none, the form is completed and taken to the sheriff's office. Officials do not believe there is video from when Jenkins and Walker each registered because that area does not have cameras.

At their news conference today, the two men's families said they believed at first that everything was legitimate about them getting out of prison early, because they had been contacted by the prison that their relatives were scheduled for immediate emergency release.

Henry Pierson, who was described by officials as Jenkins' father figure, said he received a phone call from Franklin Correctional Institution on Sept. 27 at 3:30 p.m. informing him Jenkins had been released.

Pierson said he drove six hours to pick Jenkins up from jail instead of sending him home on a bus, where the man walked out in the clothes he brought for him to wear.

Once they returned home, Pierson took Jenkins to see his grandmother and his mother before heading back to his home.

Jenkins' family planned a birthday party for him on Oct. 1, but he failed to show up, Pierson said. No one had seen him since.

Page
  • 1
  • |
  • 2
Join the Discussion
You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...
See It, Share It
PHOTO: In this stock image, a lumberjack is pictured.
Joze Pojbic/Getty Images
PHOTO: Left, an undated file photo provided by the Spokane County Sheriff shows Bombing Kevin William Harpham; right, in this undated photo provided by the Johnson County Sheriff, Frazier Glenn Cross, Jr., appears in a booking photo.
Spokane County Sheriff/AP Photo| Johnson County Sheriff via Getty Images
PHOTO: The tires of a Studebaker, missing since 1971, are visible in Brule Creek near Elk Point, S.D. in this undated file photo.
South Dakota Attorney General?s Office/AP Photo