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Murder Suspect On The Loose After Accidental Release From Broward Jail

FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) -- The Broward Sheriff's Office needs help locating a murder suspect who was released from jail when he should not have been.

Eric Vail, 28, was being held at the county jail on a second-degree murder charge but on Thursday, the jail was told that that charge against Vail was dismissed and he was released.

The Sheriff's Office, which denies it did anything wrong, is now trying to get him back in custody.

"On Thursday, the Broward Sheriff's Office received unequivocal direction from the State Attorney's Office that the second degree murder charge on Eric Vail had been dismissed.  We did not have and have not yet located any documentation stating the subject was to be held on another charge.  Our main priority at this time is to locate and apprehend this dangerous criminal," according to a statement from BSO.

In an updated statement from the Broward State Attorney's Office released Monday monring, they claim no wrongdoing.

"After speaking again with the Sheriff's Office this morning, we are confident that the State Attorney's Office correctly followed all procedures and provided the relevant paperwork through the proper channels."

Vail had been in the jail since January, accused of being the trigger man in the death of 27-year-old Wadarius Harris in October of last year.

Police say Vail used an AK-47 in the shooting, which was a result of an ongoing feud.

Vail originally was arrested on a second-degree murder charge, but a grand jury indicted him and a suspected accomplice, Christopher Avery Campbell with first-degree murder in April.

An earlier statement from the State Attorney's Office read, "The second-degree murder charge was initially filed on Jan. 29. The grand jury subsequently indicted the defendant on the first-degree murder charge on April 3. The defendant was arraigned on the more serious charge on April 9.  The defendant was taken to court by the Sheriff's Office on the first-degree murder charge on Thursday so it's hard to know how the Sheriff's Office didn't know about the first-degree murder charge.  Our office kept the second-degree murder charge open for over 50 days after the indictment on the other charge was filed in court."

Vail had two cases in Broward Circuit Court, one from his January arrest and the second based on the April grand jury indictment.

On Thursday, Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer closed the original case since it involved the same matter as the April charge.

Despite the continuing second case, which Scherer is also overseeing, Vail was released from jail that same day, jail officials said.

Anyone with information on his whereabouts should contact Broward Crime Stoppers at 954-493-TIPS.

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