A convicted rapist and child molester sentenced to life behind bars but mistakenly released from a Georgia prison last week was recaptured in northern Kentucky late Wednesday following an extensive manhunt, authorities said.
Tony Maycon Munoz-Mendez, 31, was taken into custody in Fort Thomas, Ky., a suburb of Cincinnati about 6 miles from the Ohio border, around 10:30 p.m. Wednesday, the Georgia Department of Corrections (GDC) said.
Munoz-Mendez, who was serving three life sentences, was released “in error” from the Rogers State Prison in Reidsville, Ga., located in rural Tattnall County about 65 miles from Savannah, around 11:30 a.m. Friday, the GDC said. The department waited until Monday to announce his release and an extensive manhunt, which involved multiple agencies, including Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), U.S. Marshals and the GDC Fugitive Unit.
GDC Director of Public Affairs Joan Heath told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution her department is involved in an ongoing, full internal investigation into the details surrounding Munoz-Mendez’s release.
Munoz-Mendez went to prison in April 2015 after being convicted in Georgia’s Gwinnett County on aggravated child molestation and rape charges, according to online court records. The prosecutor on the case said Munoz-Mendez molested the 7-year-old daughter of his then-girlfriend in 2010 before eventually raping her the same year and then again in 2012, when she was under age 10, the New York Times reported.
Munoz-Mendez wrote the judge a letter while awaiting trial claiming he was innocent. He wrote that he had no family in the United States and was eager to return to his own children, the Journal-Constitution reported.
“I have no family here in the United States to help me out and I have to rely on myself on everything, and it’s hard,” the letter said, in part. “I know I’m innocent.”