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Florida Escape Probers Testing Forgeries for DNA

Courtesy Orange County Sheriff's Office(TALLAHASSEE, Fla.) -- Scientists are DNA testing the forged documents that allowed two convicted murderers to escape from a Florida prison as the two recaptured men are being questioned about possible accomplices.

Laboratory scientists in Pensacola, Fla., are testing the forged documents for DNA on Monday, using a method called Touch DNA, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

Touch DNA is a method that analyzes skin cells possibly left on evidence.

FLDE Commissioner Gerald Bailey has indicated that more arrests would be made in connection with the jailbreak.

Agents are also back at Bay County Jail questioning Joseph Jenkins and Charles Walker.

Jenkins and Walker were apprehended without incident at the Coconut Grove Motor Inn in Panama City Saturday evening, officials said.

Law enforcement officials believe the two men may have paid someone thousands of dollars to create the forged release paper they used to con officials.

Shortly after 5 p.m. Saturday, about 20 members of the task force surrounded the hotel and told Jenkins and Walker to come out.  About a minute later, both men came out with their hands in the air and were taken into custody without incident.

When the two convicted killers emerged from room 227, where they had been holed up, they told officials "they were relieved that it was over," U.S. Marshals Service Chief Inspector Frank Chiumento said.

Investigators are trying to determine how the two escapees were able to obtain the forged documents, get to Panama City and pay for the room.

"There is speculation, an underlying speculation that there was a source where, for a certain sum of money, that these documents could be constructed for $8,000," Bailey said on Sunday.  "Whether that is true or not will be determined."

"While the manhunt is over, there is still a lot we do not know," he said.

Jenkins and Walker had been in Bay County, Fla., for approximately two days when they were found at the hotel, Bailey said.  He didn't know where the two convicts had hunkered down previously, but noted that they didn't have many possessions with them when they were taken into custody Saturday night.

At their first court appearance on Sunday, the judge ordered the convicts back to the custody of the state.

An interview with an associate, who was not in jail, helped pinpoint Jenkins' and Walker's whereabouts, Bailey said.

The men "were awaiting transportation from Atlanta to be transported to another state" when they were captured, he said.  He did not know who the driver was or where the men planned to go once they fled the state.

As far as how the men were able to evade the prison, he said "it was a system mistake," mentioning two other cases in which forging signatures to attempt a false release had been tried, but had no success.

Jenkins was released on Sept. 27 from the Franklin Correctional Institution.  On Oct. 8, Walker was released from the same facility, according to the Orange County Sheriff's Office.  Both releases came as a result of forged documents ordering reduced sentences for the two.

Jenkins, 34, was in jail on a 1998 first-degree murder conviction. He killed a father of six. 

Walker, also 34, was serving a life sentence for a second-degree murder. He shot a 23-year-old man in 1999.

Just three days after their respective releases, both men brazenly went to the corrections department to register as ex-felons, officials said.

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