CBS47 has learned the suspect in the missing Fresno boy's case was released from jail because of a breakdown in communication. Four days ago, Walter Levon McDaniel was allowed to walk out of the Fresno County jail because the Madera County jail failed to pick him up. He was wanted on an outstanding felony warrant in Madera County. What's most concerning is that the Madera County jail didn't even know it had missed the pickup until CBS47 started calling around.
The search for a missing 10-year-old boy was extensive. Two weeks ago, F.B.I., Fresno police and volunteers looked overhead, through neighborhoods, and in canals. He was found with 36-year-old Walter Levon McDaniel. Police arrested him on an outstanding warrant out of Madera County. Investigators are still looking into why McDaniel was with the boy, but charges were never filed. Detectives don't believe he kidnapped or assaulted the boy. His mother, Christina Letendre, says the 10-year-old is back home now.
"He seems to be just fine, still hyperactive, still runs around, still wants to play with his friends," said Letendre.
Because Fresno County has not filed charges against McDaniel, he was supposed to be transferred back to Madera County. Now he's a wanted man, walking free because of an apparent mistake.
"Oh, I am very, very not happy. No..." said Letendre.
According to Fresno County jail records, on July 1, it sent a message to Madera County jail to pick McDaniel up within 48 hours. Five says later, it sent another message saying McDaniel was being released and the warrant should be reissued. Madera County jail says it never received the messages. It's checking into whether there's a computer glitch. Meanwhile it's telling the Madera County Sheriff's Department to reactivate the warrant for McDaniel's arrest.
Back in April, jail records show McDaniel was allegedly caught driving under the influence in a stolen vehicle. He was also charged with cruelty to a child. We spoke to McDaniel's mom, who said she hasn't seen him for two months.
In Madera County, the jail and the sheriff's department are independent of each other. The sheriff's department is now looking for McDaniel. Meanwhile, the Madera County jail says Fresno County jail should have called, but Fresno County says that is not protocol, everything goes through the computer system.