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UPDATE 10/31: Tony Maycon Munoz-Mendez was arrested late Wednesday night in Fort Thomas, Kentucky. Georgia's Department of Corrections announced his apprehension but hasn't yet revealed how he was mistakenly released in the first place.
Law enforcement officials in Georgia are searching far and wide for a convicted child rapist after he was accidentally released from prison Friday.
The inmate at-large, Tony Maycon Munoz-Mendez, was serving a life sentence at Rogers State Prison in Reidsville for repeatedly molesting and raping a 10-year-old girl, the daughter of his then-girlfriend, according to WXIA, a local NBC affiliate. He was convicted on rape and child molestation charges in 2015. But somehow — and prison officials haven’t said how — he was “released in error” from the prison Friday morning.
“All resources are being utilized to ensure the rapid apprehension of Munoz-Mendez, including the Georgia Department of Corrections Fugitive Unit and U.S. Marshals,” the state’s Department of Corrections said in a statement Monday.
The Gwinnett County prosecutor who oversaw Munoz-Mendez’s conviction, John Warr, told WXIA he was horrified by the prison’s mistake. The inmate was less than five years into his life sentence, and nobody notified him or the victim, now a teenager, of his escape.
"I saw it online," Warr told WXIA. "So, I contacted the foster mother of the victim, immediately, and informed her what was going on.”
The Rogers State Prison is a medium-security facility for adult men, according to the state’s Department of Corrections.
It’s not clear whether the prison had accidentally released an inmate before, but Georgia’s jails have accidentally released inmates accused of sexual assault in the past — including one accused rapist and kidnapper in late August. The man in that case, Justin Lamar Jackson, turned himself back in after about three weeks outside the jail.
Cover image: Prison cells in Georgia. (AP Photo/David Goldman)