PANAMA CITY, Fla. - Two men convicted of murders in the Orlando area who escaped from a Florida prison have been arrested and taken into custody after being found in Panama City.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement, along with the U.S. Marshall's Service, said it arrested escaped inmates Charles Walker and Joseph Jenkins without incident around 6:40 p.m. Saturday at the Coconut Grove Motor Inn, located at 9725 Front Beach Road in Panama City. FDLE officials say they may have been waiting for a car to pick them up.
Officials say the investigation into how the fugitives were able to escape continues.
"While the manhunt is over, there is still a lot we do not know. I can tell you that there will be more arrests. Obviously we will be backtracking to those who helped carry out this fraud, and along the way we will be looking closely at anyone who may have helped harbor these fugitives," said Gerald Bailey, FDLE commissioner.
Walker, 34, was serving life without the possibility of parole on a second-degree murder conviction from Orange County. Authorities said he escaped from Franklin Correctional Institution on Oct. 8 after the Department of Corrections received fraudulent release documents from the Clerk of Court.
Jenkins, also 34, was serving a life without the possibility of parole on a first-degree murder conviction from Orange County. FDLE said on Sept. 27 he also escaped from Franklin Correctional Institution.
WKMG-TV reports family members of the convicted killers held a press conference on Saturday, imploring the men to turn themselves in. It was originally believed they were in the Orlando area, according to an Orange County sheriff.
The Corrections Department in Florida said it was changing its early release policy after the two men escaped with bogus documents. Belvin Perry's signature was among those forged in the mistaken prison release.
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