Inmate wrongly released back in Orange County Jail


ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - Shortly after a Channel 9 report Thursday about an inmate who was mistakenly released on bond, the Florida Department of Corrections said it was searching for the man.  Around 6:30 p.m. a representative from the Orange County Jail said that the man was back in custody.

On Thursday Channel 9’s Kathi Belich found John Baker, who was charged in Orange County, was out on bond and roaming the streets, but two judges and the prosecutor didn't know it.

"While in the custody of Orange County, Baker was mistakenly released despite clearly documented paperwork that directed the county to turn him back over to DOC custody," the Florida Department of Corrections said in a release late Thursday.

John Baker was mistakenly released from the Orange County Jail in May. He went from the Marion Correctional Institution through the Lake County Jail before he got to Orange County and walked free.

Belich received information from the jail on the timeline for Baker's release and learned why he was able to walk right out the door at the jail, even though jail personnel had documentation showing Baker was supposed to go back to his state prison cell in Marion County.

Baker posted a $2,500 bond five months ago after being arrested on a grand theft charge and was released.

His case was being handled as if he was not a state prisoner.

According to records, he even showed up for his trial last month, but the charge against him was dropped.

A representative from the Orange County State Attorney's office said there were witness problems with Baker's grand theft case.

According to officials with the State Attorney's Office, they never received paperwork filed with the Orange County Clerk of Court two weeks before the Orange County Jail released Baker on bond.

The paperwork shows there was a hold placed on Baker for Orange County and for the Florida Department of Corrections.

The hold stamp on the paperwork appears to partially obscure the names of the agencies that had placed holds on Baker.

Channel 9 also discovered documents from the Lake County Sheriff's Office, where Baker went first when he left the state prison in Marion County. Both documents show he had a Department of Corrections hold on him, which meant he was not to be released. He was to go back to state prison.

Officials said a warrant for Baker's arrest was issued Wednesday. They was no word on how he was returned to jail Thursday.

Baker's release happened months before two convicted murders used forged documents to escape the Florida state prison system recently.

Charles Walker and Joseph Jenkins are accused of using the forged documents to get out of prison in September and October.

The pair was recaptured at a motel in Panama City Beach over the weekend.

Florida Department of Law Enforcement agents are working to learn who forged the paperwork that led to the two means inadvertent release.