Authorities in Georgia are searching for a convicted rapist and child molester who was released from prison by mistake.
Tony Maycon Munoz-Mendez, 31, had been in custody since his 2015 conviction on rape and child molestation charges, according to state records. He was serving a life sentence when he was "released in error" from Rogers State Prison on Friday, the Georgia Department of Corrections announced.
The department did not say how the error was made or when it was first discovered, or why several days passed before the public was informed that Munoz-Mendez was at large.
"All resources are being utilized to ensure the rapid apprehension of Munoz-Mendez," the department said in a statement, noting that its fugitive unit has been joined by U.S. Marshals in searching for Munoz-Mendez.
Gwinnett County prosecutor John Warr, who helped convict Munoz-Mendez, expressed disbelief at the felon's release.
He told Atlanta's 11 Alive the case was "especially bad," with a victim who was assaulted repeatedly beginning at the age of 10.
"They need to rethink how they're handling their security, and how they let people out by mistake," Warr said. "It's incomprehensible."
Warr added that he learned of Munoz-Mendez's accidental release by reading about it online on Monday.
"I contacted the foster mother of the victim, immediately, and informed her what was going on," he said. "He'd already been out of prison the whole weekend, right?"
Munoz-Mendez, who was given three life sentences, insisted he was innocent. In a letter he wrote to a judge while awaiting trial, which was obtained by WSB-TV Ch. 2, he described wanting the case to be over so he could return to his children outside of the country."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," he wrote.