Families of Fla. prisoners mistakenly freed plea for surrender

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October 19, 2013, 7:06 pm
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7pm UPDATE: Jenkins and Walker are now in police custody.

(NECN/NBC News: Brian Mooar) - Saturday in Florida, families of two fugitive murderers made an emotional plea.

It's still not clear how the two men walked out of prison on forged release documents, but family members say the men made no effort to hide. In fact, they say prison officials called them to say the men were coming home.

As Florida law enforcement officials searched for two convicted murderers who walked free on forged documents, the families of the fugitives publicly called for them to surrender.

"We love you. We believe in you," said Lillie Danzy, the mother of Charles Bernard Walker. "We want you to surrender yourself to someone who you trust, who will bring you back in safely."

The state Department of Corrections discovered this past week that Walker and Joseph Ivan Jenkins never should have gone free.

Officials were fooled by fake court documents ordering their release.

"They told us our nephew, Joseph Jenkins, has been released, and if we wanted to come and get him of if we wanted him to be on a bus," said Henry Pearson.

Walker's family thought it was a miracle.

"After appeals and post-trial motions, the family believed their prayers had been answered and Charles had been released," said Danzy's attorney, Rhonda Henderson.

While authorities try to find the source of the forgeries, they're also looking for Walker and Jenkins.

"The law enforcement community will not let up, but we do want to have a peaceful resolution through their apprehension," said Captain Angelo Nieves of Orange County Sheriff's Department.

In the meantime, the Department of Corrections is verifying release documents to make sure more inmates don't follow in the footsteps of Walker and Jenkins.

Authorities in Florida are offering a reward of $10,000 for each man for information that leads to the arrest of the fugitives.

Tags: florida, prison, NBC News, Brian Mooar, Joseph Jenkins, Charles Walker, Charles Bernard Walker, Joseph Ivan Jenkins, Lillie Danzy, Henry Pearson, Rhonda Henderson
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