Report: Jail employees watched inmate walk out

Officials say he loosened Sanders' handcuffs and also witnessed Sanders walking out the door.

MONCKS CORNER, S.C. (WCIV) -- Officials with the Berkeley County Sheriff's Office say one wrong detail and multiple failures to follow protocol led to the escape of James Sanders from the Hill-Finklea Detention Facility.

A report and documents from the internal investigation of the Berkeley County Sheriff's Office showed several employees watched Sanders walk out the wrong door and did nothing.Lt. Tony Riley was demoted to sergeant after Sanders was prematurely released from jail. Officials say Riley failed to read Sanders' file properly and didn't see that there was one charge for which Sanders should have been held. They say Riley told other officers Sanders was ready to be released.Sgt. Rosemary Sanders was suspended without pay for allowing James Sanders to exit out the employee parking door. When inmates are released, they are supposed to leave through the front door. Officials say she watched James Sanders come out the wrong door, saw he still had his prison arm band and asked him about it.

He reportedly took it off and gave it to her. Officials say she said this is one step that is often overlooked. She told officials while inmates are supposed to go out the front upon release, they do sometimes come out the visitation door.Pfc. Tyler McWethy was suspended without pay for failure to properly secure Sanders. Officials say he loosened Sanders' handcuffs and also witnessed Sanders walking out the door behind Sgt. Rosemary Sanders.The internal investigation revealed Sanders was left unsupervised in Middle Booking. A victim's advocate realized the error in the paperwork when the victim was called and informed the police that Sanders still had a pending charge.Sgt. Patricia Collins was terminated. Berkeley County officials say he set off the chain of events that led to Sanders' escape. Collins was the supervisor over eight officers at the time. Officials say she did not read Sanders' complete file given to her by Riley nor did she have Sanders placed in a holding cell.

According to the report, she also argued with the victim's advocate, who pointed out the discrepancy and took Riley's word that Sanders was to be released without checking the file herself.

{}James Sanders, 39, escaped from the Berkeley County Detention Center on January 26. He is still at large.He was last spotted in the Sangaree neighborhood of Summerville on February 1.Sanders was serving charges of criminal domestic violence. If you see James Sanders you are asked to call 911.


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