SAN ANTONIO — Four Bexar County Jail employees were issued suspensions in December relating to three erroneous releases that occurred last year, disciplinary documents released Thursday revealed.
Deputy Carlos Sifuentes was suspended for two days for failing to “properly challenge the releasing officers regarding the maximum inmates allowed to be released.” In that incident, which occurred March 4, inmate William Castillo was released from the booking area at the Justice Intake and Assessment Annex without a bond or proper court order, according to disciplinary documents.
Records state Castillo should have been processed and kept at the Adult Detention Center. Deputies instead discovered Castillo missing around 3:30 a.m. during a head count. He was located in the 100 block of Merida Street approximately three hours later.
It’s unclear if the releasing officers who are named in Sifuentes’s disciplinary documents were also suspended in connection with the erroneous release.
Two higher-ranking jail officials, Corporal Susan Palomo and Sergeant Stephanie Flores, were suspended in connection with the Sept. 20 release of inmate Erica Morales. Palomo was suspended for two days while Flores was suspended for one day.
Morales was erroneously released after jail staff confused her with another inmate who has the same name.
Records state Palomo was the releasing officer who attached the incorrect bond paperwork to Morales’s file. “The bond clearly had the other inmate’s name, charge and date of birth, none of which was identical to that of inmate Morales,” suspension paperwork reads. The mistake, according to records, caused Morales to be erroneous released.
Suspension paperwork states Flores was the supervisor who walked inmate Morales out of the facility despite the inaccuracies in her paperwork.
Flores was among the supervisors placed on administrative leave for 10 days following Morales’s release. Morales and inmate Esequiel Hernandez were erroneously released within hours of each other on Sept. 19, prompting Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff to call a press conference. In that press conference, Wolff told reporters sheriff Javier Salazar needed to “get his act together,” calling the erroneous releases at the jail a “crisis.”
Sergeant John Paul Garcia was suspended one day last month in connection with Hernandez’s release.
Suspension documents state Garcia was the booking supervisor on duty when Hernandez was released. Release documents shared with Eyewitness Wants to Know immediately after Hernandez’s release showed the paperwork was stamped in red ink: “DO NOT RELEASE CUSTODY TRANSFER ONLY." The document also contained a highlighted note reading: "PTC taking to Haven for Hope."
Records maintained by KENS 5 show more than a dozen inmates were mistakenly released from the jail last year, prompting calls from Wolff for Salazar to hire a “professional jail administrator."
Salazar brought on former Maverick County Jail administrator Jaime Rios in October, appointing him to the post of deputy chief of detention administration. Walker was promoted to assistant chief deputy of the adult detention bureau weeks after Rios’s hiring and Rios assumed Walker’s previous role of jail administrator.