The Clay County Sheriff's Office said Tuesday it wrongfully arrested a woman of crimes she did not commit not once, but twice.
Ashley Nicole Chiasson, of Louisiana, shares the first and last name and general physical characteristics of another woman, investigators said. They said the other woman, who has not yet been arrested, is the actual perpetrator and the investigation into her involvement into these financial-type crimes is ongoing.
As the result of the discovery of these errors, all charges against Chiasson were dropped Friday and she was released, according to the Sheriff's Office.
Clay County Sheriff Rick Beseler issued the following statement:
"In these cases it appears that short-cuts were taken by the detectives during the suspect identification process and a thorough investigation into the identity of the suspect was not completed before the warrants were obtained. The result was the wrong person was accused of crimes she didn't commit. I extend to Ashley Nicole Chiasson my sincere apology for this error. We will seek to make things right for her. An internal investigation began immediately and a full review of how proper investigative procedures were not followed is underway. Those responsible will be held accountable. New measures, safeguards and revised policies will be adopted that will prevent this from occurring again in the future."
The Sheriff's Office said it anticipates litigation as the result of this arrest. It said due to that and the pending internal investigation, agency members will not comment further at this time.
This is the second wrongful arrest this year in Clay County. Four deputies were disciplined in February after a high school student spent more than a month in jail charged as an adult in a sexual battery case because he had the same name as the suspect.