Surveillance shows inmate walk out of Berkeley Co. jail

MONCKS CORNER, SC (WCSC) - On Jan. 26, James Sanders made his way out of the Hill Finklea Detention Center in Moncks Corner, but documents released Monday show that detention workers made it easy for him.

An internal investigation by the Berkeley County Sheriff's Office details the series of events that led to the escape. According to records, Sgt. Patricia Collins and Lt. Tony Riley failed to read Sanders' entire file before clearing him for release.

Authorities report that victim's advocates immediately fought the action and asked the officers to recheck Sanders' paperwork.

Investigation papers state that Collins said, "We have the discharge paper, we can't keep him here forever, it is what it is."

The investigation also showed that Pfc. Tyler McWethy failed to secure Sanders' handcuffs.

Once Sanders was out of the handcuffs, he trailed behind jail worker Sgt. Rosemary Sanders who was going to her vehicle through the facility's employee parking door, authorities say. When the sergeant questioned Sanders on a detention center arm band he was still wearing, Sanders took it off, handed it to her and kept on walking.

In the aftermath, the four workers at the detention center faced consequences.

The sheriff's office fired Collins, demoted Riley and suspended Sanders and McWethy, docking both one week's pay.

According to investigators, Collins had been reprimanded before for leaving inmates unsupervised. Victim's advocates notified the victim in James Sanders' case, who reportedly threatened to contact the media and sue because of the escape.

Of the workers interviewed as part of the investigation, some reported having as few as seven correctional officers for the center's 300 inmates at the time of the incident.

Meanwhile, Sanders is still on the run. He was last spotted in early February in the Sangaree Parkway area. If you have any information on his whereabouts you are asked to call police or Crime Stoppers.

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