Authorities say jail is not to blame for releasing McDaniel

FRESNO, Calif.

It's still unclear what Walter McDaniel's connection is to these random boys he drives around with. Wednesday night, he had a 13-year-old teenage boy with him. A few weeks ago, Fresno police say he helped hide a missing 10-year-old boy.

A stolen red car was returned to Auto Maxx Thursday; more than six months after workers at the used car dealership say it was stolen by Walter McDaniel.

It still had a football, toy car, some snacks, and other sporting items inside. Employees say McDaniel made it his own by adding bumper stickers to personalize it.

A second car McDaniel was accused of stealing ended up involved in a deadly crash as McDaniel tried to get away from police Wednesday.

"Walter McDaniel is very familiar with the criminal justice system. He's very familiar with stealing cars, and obviously very familiar w having children around him," Police Chief Jerry Dyer said.

Fresno police were working to track McDaniel down Wednesday when they learned he was driving the stolen Infiniti with a woman and teen on board.

Officers were looking for him to follow up on the case involving the 10-year-old. They did not expect McDaniel would be a free man since he had an active warrant in Madera County on several charges, including willful cruelty to a child, and driving under the influence.

Fresno County Sheriff's Captain Neil Dadian says the jail is not to blame for releasing McDaniel. He provided proof of documents sent and received by Madera County Jail officials asking them to pick him up.

"We have everything on our end documented. And all legal requirements met," said Neil Dadian with the Fresno County Sheriff's office.

No charges were filed after McDaniel was found with a missing Fresno 10-year-old late last month.

Thursday the District Attorney's Office issued a statement saying "following a thorough investigation, the evidence submitted did not meet the elements of pc278 child concealment." McDaniel and the two passengers have minor injuries. He remains at Community Regional Medical Center. Once he is released, he will be booked in the jail.

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