Sheriff’s office: Inmate mistakenly released

File photo Curry County Sheriff’s investigators are looking for an inmate mistakenly released from the county jail last week.

CNJ staff

Curry County Sheriff’s investigators are looking for an inmate mistakenly released from the county jail last week.

[image#1, align=right, size=medium] Johnny Cordova, 45, was released on bond Wednesday when a jail employee failed to check for other charges as he was being returned to the jail from a court appearance, according to Curry County Detention Center Administrator Keith Norwood.

Cordova was serving a six-month sentence for driving on a revoked license and other traffic offenses and was pending trial for a seventh or greater offense of DWI, court records show.

Norwood said the employee has been fired for the mistake.

“That employee failed to review the file to determine if the individual had outstanding warrants,” he said.

Undersheriff Wesley Waller said the sheriff’s office was notified of the “inadvertent” release Monday afternoon, he said.

“As we speak investigators are out searching for him,” he said.

Norwood said he assumed his staff notified law enforcement when the mistake occurred.

“I thought that the staff would automatically contact the (sheriff’s office), but that’s my failure for not following through on it,” he said.

“In reality I just should have followed up on it personally myself.”

The jail has been plagued with similar mistaken releases in recent years.

In April, at the request of the sheriff’s office — which was overseeing the jail under emergency conditions following the attempted escape of four inmates Feb. 21 — the county purchased a more than $17,000 jail management software system designed to eliminate issues such as mistaken releases.

Norwood said the program is operational but he would be speculating if he tried to explain why it didn’t prevent the release.

A new system of checks and balances has been implemented to try and prevent similar incidents in the future, he said.

Cordova is described 5-feet, 4-inches tall with graying brown hair and brown eyes. He weighs 190 pounds.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the sheriff’s office at 769-2335.