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NC prisoner mistakenly released in Wake Co.

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Brandon Maurice Smith

RALEIGH, N.C. — A prisoner being held on a statutory rape charge was mistakenly released from the detention center Tuesday night, according to the Wake County Sheriff’s Office.

Deputies are currently searching for 24-year-old Brandon Marquis Cozart.

According to WTVD, Sheriff Donny Harrison called it a “blatant error” on the part of detention officers.

Harrison explained Cozart was being held on a $2.5 million bond. Another man with the name Brandon Maurice Smith was set to be released on a $2,000 bond.

“This was a jail error. We take full responsibility for it,” said Harrison. “This is very rare. Their names are so similar but their pictures don’t even look anything close. We have a bar code and tracker. Bottom line is they just didn’t follow procedure.”

A detention officer walked in a jail cell with papers for the second man’s release and called the name “Brandon.” Cozart reportedly stood up and signed his own name on the paperwork.

Cozart was gone by the time officers noticed the mix-up. Brandon Smith was still in his jail cell.

Cozart is facing charges for the alleged statutory rape of a 15-year-old girl. Harrison said he should be considered dangerous.

Cozart’s bond was increased to $6 million Wednesday morning when he didn’t show for a court appearance.

Source: WTVD