Authorities said Wednesday that they have launched a search for a murder suspect who was accidentally released from New York's Rikers Island jail following a mix up with paperwork.
A spokesperson for the New York City Department of Correction confirmed to multiple news outlets that 26-year-old Christopher Buggs was mistakenly released Tuesday from the city’s main correctional facility.
The New York Daily News first reported the search for the escaped prisoner early Wednesday, which was later corroborated by Peter Thorne, deputy commissioner of public information for the city’s corrections department.
"We are aware of this incident and a full investigation into how this happened is underway," Thorne said in a statement, according to ABC News. "Right now we are working with our law enforcement partners to return this individual to custody."
ABC reported that sources said Buggs was sentenced Tuesday to 30 days of time served for an unrelated criminal contempt case while he was still waiting for his trial in the 2018 murder of a 55-year-old outside a Brooklyn bodega.
Sources added that the sentence in the separate case was improperly listed as a final motion for Buggs’s murder case, prompting jail staff to release him.
Authorities are looking for a murder suspect mistakenly released from New York City's Rikers Island jail this week. https://t.co/92OqRPorSH— ABC News (@ABC) March 10, 2021
New York City Mayor Bill de BlasioBill de BlasioNYC officials recommend masks indoors, but won't reimpose mandates Rep. Suozzi to run for New York governor Oversight panel eyes excessive bail, jail overcrowding in New York City MORE (D) in a Wednesday press briefing called the incident “very frustrating,” adding that the city would “put additional safeguards in place to make sure this never happens again.”
“This is being fully investigated right now,” he said, according to local ABC affiliate WABC-TV. “We are going to get a full review of this immediately, make whatever changes we have to.”
“In the meantime, we have a high level of confidence that he will be re-apprehended shortly," de Blasio added.
The New York Police Department is asking for the public’s assistance in locating Buggs, urging anyone with relevant information to call the NYPD's Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782).
Tips can also be submitted at nypdcrimestoppers.com or via Twitter at @NYPDTips.