JASPER COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) - From the waiting room to a jail cell. In a case of mistaken identity that lead a 12 year old booked in jail for committing no crime, a jail officer has resigned.
The Jasper County Sheriff's Office has finished its investigation on the case.
"He was holding his belt in one hand and had tears coming down his face and I said, 'Jacob, where were you,' and he said, 'I was in jail," Michelle Magruder said. "I said, 'what do you mean, did you ask for them to show you' and he said, 'no.' "
12-year-old Jacob Magruder said it all happened as he was sitting alone in the lobby while he was waiting for his family at the Jasper County Jail. Jacob said his family was upstairs with his 17-year-old brother who had just been arrested.
"I saw a police officer and he had a phone and he goes, 'is this the boy I'm supposed to take,' and the lady goes, 'yeah,'" Jacob said.
Jacob said he was then asked to stand up as the officer patted him down.
"He said, 'can you put your hands on the wall and spread your legs,' and he checked me and he was like, 'just to make sure you have no weapons on you,' " Jacob said.
In a press release sent out Friday, the Jasper County Sheriff's Office said, "The Jail Officer observed a subject in the lobby of the Sheriffs' Department whom he believed to be the person needed to be transported."
The boy said he was then taken behind a closed door and put in a holding cell.
"This lady came and said, 'can you get in this cell for me,' and I was like, 'sure,' " Jacob said. "They locked the door and it was cell number 1206 and they locked it."
The internal investigation into the case found that "at no time did the wrongfully identified juvenile say or make any statement to the Jail Officer and was the only person in the lobby at the time of contact. The Jail Officer did inquire if a juvenile was in fact to be transported which was confirmed however the Jail Officer failed to obtain name and age prior to acting."
Jacob said he sat in 1206 for several minutes until officials realized they took him, thinking it was his 17-year-old brother.
"They said, 'I'm sorry, it was just a misunderstanding,'" Jacob explained. "They said, 'you can give your brother a hug,' so I gave him a hug and he started bawling and I started bawling."
Jasper County Sheriff Terry Risner said the Sheriff's office has contacted and apologized to the family for the incident on several occasions. He also said, "As a result of this action, the jail officer has resigned from the sheriffs' department."
"The incident involved a possible miscommunication and wrongful identification of a person that was at the sheriff's office when the incident was reported," Sheriff Risner said.
"He had his radio. He should have called up there to check because he should have known that a 17-year-old does not look like me," Jacob said.
Sheriff Terry Risner would not say if anyone involved in this incident has been disciplined. Meanwhile, the investigation into how this happened continues.
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