The mother of one of two killers who walked out of a Florida prison using bogus release papers made a tearful plea Saturday for her son to “please come home” and turn himself into law enforcement.
As the search for Charles Walker and Joseph Jenkins, convicted murderers serving life sentences, continued, their families gathered with police at a news conference and called for the escapees' surrender.
“Charles, God knows who you are, I know who you are,” Lillie Danzy, Walker’s mother, said. “We want you to return home safely."
Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings said local, state, and federal law enforcement were working together to locate the pair. The men were wrongly freed from Franklin Correctional Institute in Carabelle, Fla., using forged court documents. Both were serving life terms on unrelated murder convictions. Jenkins was released on Sept. 27; Walker was released on Oct. 8.
Within days of leaving prison, Jenkins and Walker registered as felons, as required by Florida law. They signed paperwork, were fingerprinted and photographed before walking out without raising any alarms. Had one of the murder victim's families not contacted prosecutors, authorities might not have known about the mistaken releases.
Danzy said her family believed their prayers had been answered when they were contacted by the state Department of Corrections with news that Walker was scheduled for immediate emergency release that Tuesday evening.
Walker was placed on a bus from Tallahassee to Orlando, where he was reunited with his family, Danzy said.
“The family spent quality time praying and rejoicing at Charles' release,” she said, adding that Walker spent his first days of freedom with his family, even accompanying them to church. Danzy said the family made no attempts to conceal his whereabouts.
Henry Pearson, the uncle of Joseph Jenkins, also pleaded for his nephew to surrender.
“On behalf of our family, I am asking that you turn yourself in to the nearest appropriate authorities so that we can end this episode of our lives,” he said.
Like Danzy, Pearson said his family was overjoyed when they heard Jenkins was to be released.
Pearson said he and his family drove six hours to prison to pick up Jenkins on Sept. 27.
“He walked out in the clothes that we had brought for him and we returned home,” he said. “We brought him to his grandmother’s house, who was totally elated, she had no idea he was coming.”
Pearson said they threw a birthday party for Jenkins on Oct. 1.
"He was a no-show," he said.
The family has not seen Jenkins since.
Both families said they have cooperated with law enforcement throughout the investigation.