Clark County inmate released by mistake after switching identiti - KPTV - FOX 12

Clark County inmate released by mistake after switching identities

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Michael Johnson, Arizona mugshot (Courtesy: Arizona Department of Corrections) Michael Johnson, Arizona mugshot (Courtesy: Arizona Department of Corrections)
Michael Diontae Johnson (Clark Co. Sheriff's Office) Michael Diontae Johnson (Clark Co. Sheriff's Office)
Johnson's 2014 mugshot from Multnomah County. Johnson's 2014 mugshot from Multnomah County.
VANCOUVER, WA (KPTV) -

A criminal who was set to serve 24 years in prison was accidentally released from the Clark County Jail Thursday morning, and now a massive manhunt is underway to find him.

Michael Diontae Johnson, 30, was released at 8:30 a.m. after switching identities with another inmate who was scheduled for release Thursday.

The error was discovered hours later during a meal and headcount.

"I can't comment on the manner in which Johnson switched identities with the other inmate," Undersheriff Mike Cooke said in a release. "I can say, however, that this escape required prior planning and the active cooperation of the second inmate."

Johnson, who was supposed to be serving 24 years in prison for kidnapping and assault convictions in Arizona, was brought to the Clark County Jail to stand trial for local charges of harassment, assault, intimidating a witness, and bail jumping.

Court records show those charges stem from a 2014 Vancouver case, in which Johnson is accused of threatening to kill his sister and ex-girlfriend after a heated argument, and the women believed it was a threat he would carry out.

Johnson also has an active felony warrant out of Multnomah County.

A person who knows Johnson well, but asked not to be identified, told Fox 12 he's dangerous and manipulative.  The person is angry he was accidentally released and is now worried for the safety of others.

"Obviously, he's an individual who we should be wary of," said Sgt. Fred Neiman, who is a spokesperson for the Clark County Sheriff's Office.

Neiman told Fox 12 the public has a right to be concerned, and while U.S. Marshals and a fugitive apprehension team from Arizona are looking for him, major crimes detectives are also investigating how the escape happened so that it can't happen again.

"They process a lot of people through there, so they do a pretty good job of tracking and making sure those individuals who are supposed to be there are there," Neiman said of jail staff. "So this is a very rare occurrence but an unfortunate one nonetheless.'

Johnson, who is a resident of Portland, is described as a 5 foot 4 inch black man weighing 140 pounds with black hair and brown eyes.

If you see Johnson, deputies say don't approach him and call 911 immediately.

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