A suspect in a murder case was back in custody Wednesday after accidentally being turned loose Tuesday due to a miscommunication between 2nd Circuit Court and the Weber County Jail.
Samuel Estrada, 29, was accidentally released from the jail about 11 a.m. Tuesday after Chief Corrections Officer Keith Daley said he received an order advising him that the first-degree murder charge against the man had been stricken by the court.More than six hours later, officers realized a mistake had been made and issued an attempt-to-locate bulletin.
County sheriff's deputies and Southern Pacific Railroad Officer Brian Morgan began searching for the man in railroad yards and homeless shelters.
The sheriff's office said Morgan followed fresh footprints in the snow for about 2 miles along the Union Pacific main line until he discovered a newly constructed snow cave about 9:45 p.m.
Morgan said he entered the cave, brought Estrada out and escorted him back to the county jail.
Estrada had been arrested in the railroad yards on Feb. 11 and charged with murder on Feb. 13. He is accused of killing Manuel Chavez on Sept. 21.
The transient has been awaiting a Feb. 23 preliminary hearing on the murder charge and was being held in the jail in lieu of $20,000 bail when he was released.
The mix-up apparently began when the Weber County attorney's office filed a motion requesting that Estrada's preliminary hearing be postponed because it was having difficulty locating an important witness.
Berkley said the county attorney's office later requested that the state's motion be stricken.
He said the motion was stricken, but a miscommunication occurred when the information was sent to the jail.