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Juan Flores: Who's to blame for inmate's early release -- and where is he?

At this writing, Juan Flores is a free man -- but he's not supposed to be.

Flores was released early from Adams County Jail. He's been at large for the better part of two weeks now -- and the Department of Corrections, which has had to answer uncomfortable questions about why alleged killer Evan Ebel hit the streets four years too soon, wants him back, pronto.

What happened? Details and videos below.

According to 7News, Flores was convicted in the stabbing of a man in Montrose circa 2006 and sentenced to five years in state prison.

In December 2011, some time after his release, Flores was designated as an "absconder" by his parole officer. But he wasn't taken into custody until January 2013, when he was busted on a DUI allegation -- meaning he'd been on the loose for more than a year.

The sign at Adams County Jail.
The sign at Adams County Jail.

Before long, Flores was given a room at the Adams County Jail prior to an anticipated transfer to the Colorado Department of Corrections. But an employee with the Adams County Sheriff's Office reportedly misinterpreted some documents, leading to Flores being sent packing rather than to prison.

Imagine how frustrated the folks at the Department of Corrections must be over this turn of events. After all, the DOC is the state agency whose boss, Tom Clements, was slain by the aforementioned Evan Ebel after he appears to have killed another man, pizza-delivery man Nathan Leon. But he never should have gotten the chance.

As we've reported, officials with the 11th Judicial District have admitted that Ebel's sentence for assorted offenses was to have run consecutively rather than concurrently, keeping him in prison for up to another four years. But the judge in the case didn't specifically say the sentences were supposed to be consecutive, so this edict was never recorded. Hence, as a matter of policy, the Department of Corrections assumed it was concurrent, cutting Ebel free to kill and kill again.

This botch left Nathan Leon's wife Katie shattered and angry. Here's a video of her remarks after the revelation of Ebel's early release.

A wide net is being cast for Flores. Meanwhile, Adams County Sheriff Doug Darr offered the following statement about Flores to 7News and other media outlets:

During the investigation stemming from Mr. Flores being prematurely and inappropriately released, we found that we clearly made a mistake. We have no excuses to offer. We don't always get it right; we make occasional errors. When we do, we have the responsibility to own it, tell the truth, and do the best to fix it. That's exactly what we're attempting to do in this case." We currently have a number of deputies and detectives who are actively trying to locate Mr. Flores and apprehend him. We will make every effort to ensure a mistake like this will not occur again.

Here's a larger look at Flores's mug shot, as well as the 7News report.

Juan Flores.
Juan Flores.

More from our Colorado Crimes archive: "Video: Nathan Leon's widow livid at mistaken early release of killer Evan Ebel."


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