9 Investigates: Inmate in confinement after answering call on illegal cellphone from WFTV reporter

By: Daralene Jones

Updated:

BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. - A state prisoner tying up 911 with bogus claims has become the latest development in Channel 9’s ongoing investigation exposing illegal cellphones in prisons.

It’s the same inmate 9 Investigates reported about earlier this month.

The Brevard County state attorney and his prosecutors believe Christopher Wood has been harassing his rape victim from behind bars using a cellphone.

9 Investigates: Prisoner accused of terrorizing rape victim

 

They first raised concerns a year ago, and followed up with a formal letter to the Department of Corrections secretary in February, but didn’t receive a response until Investigative reporter Daralene Jones started asking questions.

 

On Wednesday, Jones called Wood and talked to him on a cellphone for several minutes before he hung up.

 

Wood’s main concern was how Jones obtained the cellphone number.

 

Read: 9 Investigates drug smuggling using prison drones

 

Jones notified the Department of Corrections about the call and 911 calls she obtained that prosecutors believe were also made using a cellphone in prison.

 

A few hours later, a DOC spokesperson said, A few hours later, a DOC spokesperson said, “The Department is working in conjunction with the Monroe County Sherriff’s Office to investigate these allegations, in addition to the open and ongoing investigation of any illegal use of a contraband cell phone by inmate Wood. These allegations are being taken very seriously. FDC stands firm in its commitment to interdict illegal contraband and hold individuals accountable who are found to be in violation. This inmate has been searched multiple times – including a search that was conducted today and he has been placed in confinement pending the investigation.”

 

The Brevard County State Attorney's Office provided 9 Investigates with seven calls to the Monroe County Sheriff's Office that they believe Wood made from Jefferson using that same illegal cellphone--at least once during Hurricane Irma.

In some, he refers to his girlfriend as his wife or his sister. “My wife has had brain surgery, I'm trying to get, is there any way you guys can get someone out to the Red Cross relief center in Marathon,” Wood told the dispatcher.

Wood made desperate pleas with dispatchers to send deputies on a search for his girlfriend in the Florida Keys, more than 500 miles away.

She was never missing, she just hadn’t answered his calls from prison.

In more than one call he provided dispatchers with a call back number, some of which were bogus.

“I'm a have to breach confidentiality to tell you this. This is my girlfriend and she and I are confidential informants with the DEA and the FBI. I've been doing this for about 20 years and I know this is dangerous work. She's never been missing for any length of time. My name is Christopher Wood,” he told the dispatcher.

The DOC requested an addition $2 million to fight contraband in state prisons.

This year, more than 11,000 cellphones and accessories have been confiscated system wide, and nearly 40,000 since 2014, according to DOC records.

 

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