Man Mistakenly Freed From Jail Is Made to Go Back by His Wife: Report

James John Rynerson, 38, was being held in the Mesa County Jail on menacing, disorderly conduct and trespass charges when he managed to walk free on May 21.
Mesa County Sheriff's Office

A Colorado man's freedom was cut short when his wife made him turn himself in less than two hours after he was mistakenly released from prison, according to reports.

James John Rynerson, 38, was being held in the Mesa County Jail on menacing, disorderly conduct and trespass charges when he managed to walk free on May 21, according an arrest affidavit obtained by the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel

Though Rynerson was being held on $2,000 cash bond, he allegedly stepped forward when guards called for Marvin March, 35, another inmate set to be released that day, the affidavit said.

March had been temporarily moved into Rynerson’s cell while his own was under construction and though he was eventually moved back, the jail’s housing list wasn’t immediately updated to reflect the move, the Daily Sentinel reported.

Rynerson allegedly said nothing when he was given March’s paperwork to sign, as well as his debit card, leather jacket and clothes, and no one checked his inmate wristband as he left the facility after 9 p.m., according to the paper. 

Rynerson went home to his wife, who promptly told him to turn himself in, authorities said.

"(She) convinced Inmate Rynerson to go back, and personally drove him back to the Mesa County Detention Facility," the affidavit said, according to the Daily Sentinel.

Rynerson was back in custody by about 11 p.m. 

He was charged with escape, forgery, criminal impersonation and theft as a result of his walking out as March, records show. A hold was placed on Rynerson preventing him from being eligible for release after posting bond, according to jail records. 

Authorities apparently realized they had released the wrong man after March approached a deputy and asked when he was being let out. 

An investigation into the frequency of jail housing list updates is underway, officials said. 

“We appreciate that [Rynerson’s wife] recognized his error and recommended that he turn himself in before it became something more significant," Mesa County Sheriff's Sgt. Henry Stoffel told the Daily Sentinel. 

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