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Surprising reason for delay in release of escaped inmates’ photos

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JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. -- In the moments following a prison escape, it's safe to assume the public would have all the necessary information like names, mugshots etc.

That wasn't the case Friday April 13th at the Federal Correctional Institution - Englewood.

It took nearly 72 hours for prison officials to release the pictures of escapees Eric Rivera and Victor Beltran Rodriguez.

The two men were serving time for drug offenses in a minimum security prisoner camp, and are not considered violent offenders. They're also still on the run Monday.

Cheri Hall lives in a neighborhood directly across from the prison and is shocked she was not informed of an escape. "Three days later and we're just now going to learn about the pictures? That's unheard of."

FOX31 Denver spoke with the Englewood FCI Public Information Officer John Sell, who's responsible for releasing mugshots. He said the reason the pictures were not released Friday was because he, "picked a bad weekend to go out of town."

He also said no other prison official was capable of releasing the pictures.

According to Cheri Hall, that's not a good excuse. "There's so many neighborhoods all around here, we should have been notified."

The Jefferson County Sheriff's Department is not involved with the prison and would not comment on the escape itself, but said in case of emergencies where the public needs information, it has several officials who are able to release it.

When asked if there are any plans to change procedures following an escape, Sell told FOX31 Denver it had not been discussed yet.

The prison Rivera and Rodriguez walked away from is the same one where former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich is serving his prison sentence.

Rodriguez was serving a sentence for cocaine possession in Florida. Rivera was serving a sentence for distributing meth in California.