A woman mistakenly released from the Jackson County Jail earlier this month faces felony charges alleging she deceived staff and assumed another inmate's identity when she made her two-day escape.
Emily Ashton Fasel, 23, was charged with identity theft and second-degree escape alleging she pretended to be another inmate after hearing the name called for release, according to documents filed last week in Jackson County Circuit Court.
On June 10, Fasel allegedly represented herself to jail staff as Makila Kay Singer, 19, a low-risk inmate who'd been set to be released because of overcrowding while lodged on a pair of misdemeanor drug and petty theft charges, court records show.
Police say Fasel, who has a Portland address listed in court records, left the jail wearing Singer's clothing and carrying her property, including Singer's cellphone. She also faces misdemeanor theft charges because Singer's property was valued at $230.
At the beginning of the month, a judge ordered Fasel excluded from any early release lists because she was classified as a chronic FTA (failure to appear) offender, owing to a history of missing court appearances nearly 70 times on half a dozen Medford Area Drug and Gang Enforcement task force arrests between 2014 and 2016. The chronic FTA list is compiled through recommendations from local police, the Jackson County District Attorney's Office, courts and Jackson County Community Justice.
Jackson County Jail Commander Lt. Josh Aldrich, who has worked at the jail for 18 years, described Fasel's escape as "fairly unique."
"I can't think of another case where someone pretended to be someone else and got released from here," Aldrich said.
An internal investigation is underway to address the clerical errors that Fasel exploited.
"You had someone that was very much trying to deceive," Aldrich said, adding that jail staff who made mistakes or didn't follow policy will be held accountable.
Within two days of her escape, Fasel was captured at a Grants Pass hotel and was booked again in jail June 12, according to earlier news reports. As of Tuesday afternoon, Aldrich said, Fasel was one of five inmates lodged as part of the chronic FTA program, which was first rolled out in March. A judge orders the inmate to be removed from early-release consideration, in what's commonly called a "no matrix" hold.
Aldrich has described the chronic FTA program, spearheaded by Sheriff Nathan Sickler, as a way to connect inmates with addiction and mental health resources.
The only way Fasel can be released from jail is through closing her pending cases, or posting 10 percent bond on bail currently set at $85,000. Her next court appearance is set for July 2 in the escape case.