Federal convict on the run following accidental release in Jackson County

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A dangerous fugitive is on the run after an apparent paperwork snafu allowed him to walk out of a metro jail last month. U.S. Marshals are now looking for Jeffrey Michael Haywood, 44, of Independence, Mo., who was sentenced in April to 15 years in federal prison without parole.

Haywood pleaded guilty in 2014 to using a stolen credit card with the intent to defraud. The federal investigation revealed he was responsible for at least 10 other similar burglaries in which he used stolen credit cards to buy more than $10,000 worth of merchandise.

Online court records show Haywood is also a registered sex offender with a long rap sheet, including charges for stealing cars, running from police, and possession of drugs.

“The big problem with a person like Mr. Haywood is that they’re a longtime drug user and hooked on methamphetamine,” said Mike Stokes, a supervising deputy U.S. Marshal. “Those people make really poor decisions, so they’ll kind of run at any cost.”

Stokes said Haywood was transferred from the Missouri Department of Corrections to the Jackson County Detention Center in May where – he was released.

“He had local charges in the Kansas City area,” Stokes said, “and was sent to Jackson County and from there, we don’t know exactly what happened.”

Stokes said the MODOC claimed it sent a detainer to Jackson County alerting it of Haywood’s federal conviction, and said it got confirmation it was received.

But a Jackson County spokesperson told FOX 4 as far as they can tell, their corrections facility had no paperwork to indicate Haywood was wanted by the Federal agents; and since he was in their jail on a municipal charge, the court released him on his own recognizance.

“It doesn’t happen a lot,” Stokes said of the situation, “but it does happen every now and then. Administrative errors, who knows what might be the cause of it, it’s hard to say.”

The spokesperson for Jackson County said the matter is now under investigation.

“The fact that he knows he has a long sentence ahead of him and he’s 45 years old,” Stokes said of Haywood, “he’s not going to give up easy.”

That’s why, Stokes said, they need your help.

“The community is everything to us,” he added. “That’s how we find fugitives. It takes the person next door, the person at the gas station, just common everyday people who never in a million years think they will be involved in anything like that.”

“No matter how small the little piece of information is, they [need to] report it to let us put the pieces of the puzzle together.”

Stokes described Haywood as 6’3", weighing 180 lbs., with brown hair and hazel eyes. He has no visible tattoos.

Stokes said he doesn’t know if Haywood is armed, but he is dangerous and doesn't have any source of income, so it's possible he's committing more crimes while on the run.

If you see Haywood or hear of his whereabouts, they’re asking you call CrimeStoppers at (816) 474-TIPS, or the U.S. Marshal’s Office at (816) 512-2000.

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