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FORT DODGE, Iowa – Officials say the escape of an inmate from the Webster County Jail earlier this month was possible because help was provided by a former correctional officer at the jail.

Webster County Sheriff Luke Fleener says 30-year-old Michelle Valenti of Fort Dodge assisted in 43-year-old Jordan Mefferd’s December 12th escape. Valenti was employed as a correctional officer at the jail at the time.

Mefferd escaped just before 11:00 p.m. on Dec. 12 and following a short search and vehicle pursuit, was taken into custody a few hours later.

The investigation into Mefferd’s escape revealed Valenti helped in his escape. She is now facing charges of permitting a prisoner to escape, introducing contraband, introducing electronic contraband, furnishing a controlled substance, and sexual misconduct with offenders.

Valenti is being held on a $22,000 cash-only bond and made her initial appearance before a judge Tuesday.