Ross County inmate allegedly poses as cell mate to get out of jail early

Charles Dollarhide

CHILLICOTHE, Ohio (WCMH) — A man who was mistakenly released from jail in Ross County on Monday is back behind bars and facing felony charges for allegedly posing as his cell mate.

Lieutenant Michael Preston of the Ross County Sheriff’s Office said corrections officers were supposed to release one man, but the second man “assumed his cell mate’s identity.”

Charlie Dollarhide, 29, was in jail on misdemeanor charges that included theft, drug abuse and OVI.

Now, he’s facing additional felony charges of escape, forgery, identity theft and grand theft.

“The person who was supposed to be released was sleeping in his bunk at the time,” Preston said, noting that Dollarhide and his cell mate were close in age and had similar physical builds.

Preston said Dollarhide signed his cell mate’s name and received the cell mate’s belongings, including a wallet with credit and debit cards.

“That’s the one thing that you do not want to happen,” Preston said of the mistaken release.

Dollarhide was found hours later, about 9 p.m., at a house on Willard Drive in the southeastern part of the county more than six miles away.

The sheriff’s office said a procedure wasn’t followed properly. Corrections officers are supposed to check photos to make sure they are releasing the right prisoner.

Preston said the release procedure was changed right after this incident took place. Instead of just one corrections officer verifying a prisoner’s identity prior to release, three officers will now be required.

“What I can say is a mistake was made and we have to be transparent about that mistake and we have to deal with that mistake,” Preston said.

The Ross County Sheriff’s Office said there is an internal investigation into how this happened. Preston said any correction officers involved in this incident would be disciplined, although they had not been placed on leave as of Tuesday afternoon.

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