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Investigation Under Way After Inmate's Accidental Release From Cumberland Jail

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FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. — An inmate who had been mistakenly released from the Cumberland County Detention Center was back in custody on Tuesday. As a result, the Cumberland County sheriff said an internal investigation is under way.

Although John Fairley was free for fewer than 48 hours, he was the fifth inmate to be released by mistake from the Cumberland County jail in the past year.

All five were either recaptured or turned themselves back in after their inadvertent release.

Fairley, 17, was picked up at the home of a friend of his girlfriend, on Kisco Drive in Fayetteville, around 8:45 a.m. Monday. Both Fairley and his girlfriend, 19-year-old Tammy Powell, of Fayetteville, were arrested.

At the time of Fairley's escape, he was being held on a $20,000 secured bond for breaking and entering of a motor vehicle and several misdemeanor offenses.

Fairley was mistakenly released shortly before 8 p.m. Sunday. When a bondsman posted bond for Fairley's brother, Keyon Fairley, jailers made an error in the release process and authorized the release of John Fairley.

John Fairley knew his brother was supposed to be released and forged his brother's name on the release documents.

Several hours later, the bonding company notified the detention facility of its error, and the search for John Fairley began.

During their investigation into Fairley's escape, Cumberland County deputies gained information that allowed them to arrest Powell and Fairley for a safe robbery that occurred during the summer of 2003 in which $100,000 in cash was taken.

Powell was charged with felony conspiracy and placed in the Cumberland County jail under a $25,000 secured bond.

Fairley was charged with breaking and entering and larceny, safecracking, possession of stolen goods, and felony conspiracy, escape, obstruction of justice and forgery. He was back in the Cumberland County jail Tuesday under no bond.

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