Española police seeks mistakenly released inmate

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ESPAÑOLA, N.M. – Española police are trying to track down wanted criminal, Jerome Naranjo, who was shot during a standoff with police in November.

Naranjo was arrested, but was “inadvertently released” a short time later. Now, he’s allegedly back up to no good.

Chopper 4 was there shortly after Española police say a domestic violence call ended with officers shooting and injuring him.

“He’s had no regard for the safety of any law enforcement officer or whoever is with him,” said Española Chief Mizel Garcia.

Garcia says Naranjo has a long rap sheet, and he’s been in and out of jail in Rio Arriba County. But after the shooting, he says Naranjo was supposed to stay there.

That message didn’t make its way to jail staff, court records show he was inadvertently released.

The jail administrator told KOB 4 they received release papers for Naranjo, and a supervisor even called to make sure.

Here’s the complication: from what we could find looking at court records, Naranjo had several cases around that time. 

While his release was getting revoked in one case, he was getting released on another, between district and magistrate court hearings.

In Rio Arriba County Magistrate Court, the district attorneys’ office is given notice that a release hearing is happening, but no one has to show up.

KOB 4 reached out to the First Judicial District Attorney’s Office, and a spokesperson refused to answer our questions.

Now, Española police say Naranjo is back at it.

“We have four pending felony cases since his inadvertent release,” said Garcia.

Now they’re asking for help from the community to track Naranjo down as soon as possible.

“We know he will resort, as it’s been demonstrated through his last couple of contacts, that he will resort to violence,” said Garcia.