Webster County Sherriff’s Office PRESS RELEASE:
On Saturday December 12, 2021, at approximately 10:55 p.m., staff with the Webster County Jail reported the escape of inmate Jordan Mefferd, 43, of Fort Dodge. Webster County Sheriff‘s deputies and Fort Dodge Police officers conducted an immediate search of the area for Mefferd. After a short search and brief vehicle pursuit Mefferd was taken back into custody at approximately 1:30 a.m. on December 13. At that time, Mefferd was charged with Escape, class D felony and Eluding, class C felony.
An investigation into Mefferd’s escape was immediately initiated by the Webster County Sheriff’s Office regarding Mefferd’s actions at the time of and in the days leading up to his escape. During this investigation, investigators from the Webster County Sheriff‘s Office and the Webster County Attorney’s Office discovered that a correctional officer within the Webster County Jail played a role in Mefferd’s escape. The investigation revealed numerous alleged violations of policies and protocols of the Webster County Jail in addition to numerous alleged criminal violations. As a result of the investigation up to this point, former Correctional Officer Michelle Valenti, age 30, of Fort Dodge, has been charged with the following criminal offenses:
Charge: Ct. I: Permitting Prisoner to Escape Ct. II: Introducing Contraband Ct. III: Introducing Electronic Contraband Ct. IV: Furnishing a Controlled Substance Ct. V: Sexual Misconduct with Offenders
Code Section(s): 719.5 & 719.5(2) 719.7, 719.3(a) & 719.7(4)(b) 719.7A & 719.7A(2)(a) & 719.7A(3) 719.8 709.16 & 709.16(3)
Class D Felony D Felony D Felony D Felony Aggravated Misdemeanor
Michelle Valenti is currently being held on a $22,000.00 dollar, cash only bond after making her initial appearance in Webster County Magistrate Court on Tuesday December 21, 2021. As with all criminal charges, Michelle Valenti is considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
As your Sheriff, I hold all employees of the Webster County Sheriff’s Office to a higher standard, not only to myself as their Sheriff, but also to each citizen of Webster County, who we proudly serve and work for while in uniform, day in and day out. I cannot and will not tolerate these types of actions and conduct. As this investigation continues, any other employees that have violated policies or protocols will be addressed accordingly, including any criminal charges that may be warranted. Michelle Valenti has violated the trust of her former co–workers here at the
WEBSTER COUNTY SHERIFF‘S OFFICE
Office: (515) 573–1410 Fax: (515) 573-2011
702 1st Avenue South Fort Dodge, IA. 50501
TO SERVE AND PROTECT
Sheriff’s Office, along with the trust that our citizens have in us to carry out our duties on a daily basis in a manner proscribed by law.
As news of these allegations becomes public, please do not let the alleged actions of one individual define the otherwise dedicated and hardworking men and women of the Webster County Sheriff‘s Office who work diligently each day to fulfil their duties serving the citizens of Webster County
Luke M. Fleener Webster County Sheriff