A convicted kidnapper was accidentally released from an Alabama jail, and police can't find him, report says
- Matthew Amos Burke is missing after he was mistakenly released from jail, The Birmingham News reported.
- He was sentenced last month to 17 years in an
Alabamajail for kidnapping a businessman.
A convicted kidnapper was accidentally released from an Alabama jail and is now missing, law-enforcement said Tuesday, The Birmingham News reported Tuesday.
Matthew Amos Burke, 35, was given a 17-year sentence last month after pleading guilty to bank fraud and the kidnap of the businessman Elton B. Stephens, Jr., The Birmingham
In November, US Marshals placed Burke on a federal detainer, meaning he would be turned over to federal authorities once he was done with his state charges, the outlet reported.
Burke's state charges were dismissed after a court appearance on Friday, The Birmingham News reported, citing legal records.
Burke was transferred to the Jefferson County Jail from an unnamed neighboring agency last month to attend the court hearing, and was subsequently released, Jefferson County Sheriff's Sgt. Joni Money said, according to The Birmingham News.
During the transfer, "there was no documentation left to notify jail personnel that Burke had been sentenced by another court and was not to be released," Money said.
Burke was released at 3:23 p.m. last Friday, The Birmingham News reported, citing jail records.
US Marshal Marty Keely told The Birmingham News they were investigating the issue.
"We are actively looking for him,'' Keely told The Birmingham News, adding that he only found out about the case on Monday.
Burke and his girlfriend broke into Stephens' rental home in September 2020, and stole a car, guns, and jewelry, WIAT reported. The couple then took Stephens to their home and held him there for eight hours, during which they forced him to wire $250,000 to them for his release, before eventually releasing Stephens unharmed, The Birmingham News reported.
The girlfriend, Tabatha Hodge, also pleaded guilty to kidnapping and bank fraud, and was sentenced to 12 years in prison, the two outlets said.
Stephens' attorney said Burke could face an additional five years in prison if convicted of escape.
"Perhaps that will be enough incentive for Mr. Burke to turn himself in," Tommy Spina said, according to The Birmingham News.
The Jefferson County Sheriff's Office did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.
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