The state Corrections Department has suspended the warden of the Huron Valley Men's Facility in Ypsilanti for losing the prison's master key, possibly during an altercation with a female guard who later stabbed him.

Travis Jones, 49, was placed on indefinite suspension without pay last week, but the announcement was not made until Wednesday. His attorney described the bizarre situation as "a `Fatal Attraction' kind of thing" between Jones and the guard, Sgt. Olivia Pitts, 42.Corrections Department officials have not decided whether to replace all the locks inside the 470-bed maximum-security prison, which would cost between $40,000 and $65,000, said department spokeswoman Gail Light. The master key unlocks all interior doors, including cells, but does not unlock the prison's weapons arsenal or exterior doors, she said.

"The supposition is that the key was not lost inside the institution but is floating around somewhere outside the prison," Light said.

Jones was suspended Jan. 3, the same day he was stabbed in the back by the guard and two weeks after police responded to a call from the woman's apartment, where Jones was found naked and struggling with the knife-wielding woman, according to police reports.

Jones left the Pitts' apartment with police on Dec. 17 after getting fresh clothing, and corrections officials said they believe the key was lost with his original clothing. None of Jones' belongings were recovered, said Capt. Daniel Heyns of the Jackson County Sheriff's Department.

Pitts, who has been suspended from her job at the Cotton Regional Facility in Jackson, faces felony charges stemming from the Jan. 3 stabbing incident, which occurred at a service station in Jackson. Jones told police Pitts had followed him to the station and stabbed him with a 6-inch knife when he got out of his car.

Jones, who is married and has four children, denies having a sexual relationship with Pitts, said his attorney, Richard Hitt.