DOC probing mistaken release of detainee

Rodney Joe Cruz was released from DOC custody on Monday but his release was an error.

The Department of Corrections has launched an investigation after a detainee was mistakenly released from custody.

Rodney Joe Cruz was released from DOC custody on Monday but his release was an error. While he was tracked down and brought back into DOC custody on Tuesday, DOC Director Samantha Brennan told PNC: “It’s an ongoing investigation and we can not comment at this time.”

This raises the question how was the detainee released by error?

While that remains to be seen as DOC works to investigate the incident, this is not the first time this has happened.

In February 2018, then DOC Director Tony Lamorena confirmed that a detainee was accidentally released from the Department of Corrections, citing that it was quote, “an honest mistake.”

The detainee was Ben Espinosa who is confined to the prison for multiple cases. Because of the mistake, for a brief time, he was a free man.

According to PNC files, DOC received an order to release Espinosa and so he was released not realizing that Espinosa was being held in other cases. When DOC received the confinement list for Espinosa, six cases were listed which matched up with the release order, but a separate confinement order was also received listing two other cases. It wasn’t until a cross-check was conducted that DOC caught the mistake.

At this time it is unknown if Cruz was released under the same circumstances.

Cruz was committed to DOC custody in February after authorities tracked him down for failing to abide by the conditions of his pre-trial release related to a 2016 terrorizing case and a 2017 family violence and child abuse case.

However, his criminal history dates back to 2001 and includes terrorizing family violence disorderly conduct, assault and criminal mischief to name a few.

PNC asked Brennan if DOC would be reviewing its policies and procedures related to the release of detainees/inmates. However no response was received as of news time.


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Jolene Toves
Jolene joined the PNC team in 2017, as a producer, co-anchor and investigative reporter covering law enforcement, courts and crimes. Notable coverage includes the Ehlert case, the Mark Torre Jr. trial, the Allan Agababa trial, exclusive pieces on the Life of a Drug Dealer/Addict, and Life behind bars...the story of Honofre Chargualaf and Kevin Cruz. In 2019, she was promoted to Assistant News Director and Lead Anchor. From 2015 to 2017 she served as Public Relations and Promotions Manager, for the Hotel Nikko Guam handling local radio and advertorial promotions, as well as produced and directed tv commercials for the hotel. Prior to this she worked with KUAM for three years as a reporter and segment host. She began her journalism career in 2012, working with Glimpses of Guam contributing to the Guam Business Magazine, R&R magazine, MDM magazine and the Marianas Business Journal.