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12-Year-Old Put In Jail By Mistake

Last updated on Tuesday, May 15, 2012

(JASPER COUNTY) - From the waiting room, to a jail cell. A case of mistaken identity leads to a 12-year-old who said he was wrongfully jailed. Now the Jasper County Sheriff’s Office is investigating.

"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.' "

Krista Henery of WLFI, reports, Jacob Magruder, 12, 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 suppose 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.

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."

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 an on-going internal investigation is being conducted at this time.

"The incident involved a possible miscommunication and wrongful identification of a person that was at the sherriff'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.

Sherriff 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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