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6 to be arrested in probe of Florida inmates’ escape

Posted at 11:51 AM, Dec 19, 2013

(CNN) — Two convicted murderers who allegedly used forged documents to escape from a Florida prison and four other people will be arrested in connection with an alleged scheme that helped the pair temporarily go free, a spokeswoman for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement said Thursday.

The six include inmates already in custody, including Charles Walker and Joseph Jenkins, whom authorities recaptured in October after they allegedly deceived their way out of prison, spokeswoman Gretl Plessinger said.

The state’s law enforcement commissioner has planned a news conference for 3 p.m. ET Thursday to discuss the case.

Walker and Jenkins, convicted of unrelated killings, had been serving life terms without parole at the Franklin Correctional Institution in North Carrabelle, Florida, when they escaped this fall.

Jenkins walked out September 27; Walker left October 8. Authorities said both used fraudulent but legal-looking release documents with bogus reproductions of several key players’ signatures, including those of the Orlando-area state attorney and Judge Belvin Perry, plus the seal of the Orange County Clerk of Court’s office.

Police and U.S. marshals recaptured both men on October 19 at a motel in Panama City Beach, Florida, about a two-hour drive west of the prison. Both locations are on the Florida Panhandle.

Authorities have said they’ve been investigating inmate schemes to forge release documents for about a year, and had warned state prosecutors about the plots over the summer.

On November 6, FLDE Commissioner Gerald Bailey told state lawmakers that Walker and Jenkins had help inside and outside the prison to pull off their escape.

CNN’s Debra Goldschmidt and Chelsea J. Carter contributed to this report.