SALT LAKE CITY — Police were searching Wednesday night for a man accused of rape who was erroneously released from Salt Lake County Jail.
Anthony S. Moultry, 27, was charged Wednesday in 3rd District Court with rape, a first-degree felony, and burglary, a second-degree felony. He was also charged with theft and lewdness, both class B misdemeanors.
Moultry is accused of forcing his way into a woman's Murray home on Aug. 3, raping her and stealing her wallet on the way out the door, according to charging documents. He was booked into jail that day but was accidentally released about 10:15 a.m. Wednesday.
Salt Lake County Sheriff Jim Winder said Moultry had been gone for about two hours before the error was noticed, and the sheriff's office accepts full responsibility for the error.
"This is an individual we should be concerned about, an individual who should never have been released from jail," Winder said.
As the deadline for Moultry's release approached, Murray police obtained and delivered an extension order about 9 a.m. Wednesday that would have kept him in jail until charges were filed later that day, Winder said.
But an hour and half later, Moultry was gone.
As the search began, attempts to contact Moultry's friends and relatives turned up no leads, though Winder believes he is still in Salt Lake County.
The best option for Moultry would be to turn himself in, the sheriff said, though the man faces no additional penalty if he doesn't.
"He's going to face this music one way or another," Winder said. "We will find him."
Winder confirmed the extension was successfully received by the jail but was somehow overlooked. An investigation has begun to identify what went wrong, and until then, every booking will be given extra scrutiny before a suspect is released, he said.
"Our releasing process has five separate stages to it. I am just at a loss as to how five separate checks and balances did not catch this," Winder said.
A warrant was issued Wednesday, and officers were attempting to locate Moultry. He is described as black, 5 feet 8 inches tall and 185 pounds, with slight facial hair, a short haircut, and a tattoo on the left side of his neck. Anyone who sees Moultry should call 911 immediately, police said.
Moultry has a history of violence and is considered extremely dangerous, Winder said. Protections were put in place Wednesday for the woman he is accused of raping, the sheriff said.
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