Two more inmates were in the process of obtaining forged release documents at the same Florida prison two convicted murderers walked out of using bogus papers, officials said Tuesday.
Investigators have seized computers and printers from the Franklin Correctional Institute and are undertaking a forensic analysis of inmate accounts to figure out who is behind the scheme, how big it is and whether there are more escapees on the loose.
They said they have zeroed in on several people suspected of helping Charles Walker and Joseph Jenkins escape from Franklin — only to be recaptured last week — but they aren't ready to make any arrests.
"There is still a lot we do not know and there is a lot we have yet to prove," Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Jerry Bailey said at a press conference.
He outlined a high-tech probe that includes DNA analysis to determine who created the bogus papers that got Walker and Jenkins sprung and who ushered the documents through the Orange County Clerk's office.
Walker and Jenkins, who were recaptured Saturday at a Panama City, Fla., motel after weeks of freedom, are not cooperating.
"In law enforcement terms, they have lawyered up," Bailey said.
The scope of the forgery operation is still unknown, but officials have identified seven escape tries at three state prisons — three of them successful.
This police booking mug shot provided by the Bay County Sheriff's Office shows escaped convict Charles Walker and Joseph Jenkins. Police recaptured Walker and Joseph Jenkins, both 34, Saturday, Oct, 19, 2013, in a Panama City, Fla. motel. Jenkins and Walker both convicted murderers, were freed from a Florida prison by phony documents in late September and early October. (AP Photo/Bay County Sheriff's Office)
Franklin's tally includes Walker, who was released Oct. 8, and Jenkins, who tried unsuccessfully in 2011 and then made it out Sept. 27. The two men, both 34 and serving life for murder, were arrested Saturday in a Panama City, Fla., hotel.
"Since this investigation started, we determined two other Franklin CI inmates were in the process of obtaining forged documents," Bailey said.
In addition, there were attempts at two other prisons, including one man who was out for a day before authorities got wise.
Bailey said a high-echelon team is looking into whether the forgeries are an inside job and, more chillingly, whether there are other escaped criminals they don't even know about yet.
At least $20,000 in reward money is being offered for information leading to the arrest of any accomplices.
When Walker and Jenkins were tracked down to the motel, they were waiting for a car from Atlanta to come pick them up and take them across state lines.
They had an iPad and a cellphone, which investigators are now looking at for clues.
"Tips and leads continue to come in and our analysts are culling through reams of documents and information," Bailey added.
"We have pinpointed suspects and are building the case."
First published October 22 2013, 9:34 AM