A man who was ordered taken into custody to jail amid allegations that he threatened to kill someone who'd cooperated with prosecutors in his drug case instead walked out of a federal courthouse in downtown Chicago and disappeared, authorities said Thursday.
Officials were still trying to piece together what happened Tuesday that allowed 32-year-old Ignacio Torres of Chicago to simply leave the building after his hearing.
U.S. attorney's office spokesman Randall Samborn said there was "some uncertainty about how and when he was supposed to report to the (U.S.) Marshal's Service," but that Torres was never supposed to leave the building after the hearing.
Torres, of Chicago, had pleaded guilty in June to a federal charge of possession 500 grams or more of cocaine and was scheduled to be sentenced next month.
He was in court was in court Tuesday because federal prosecutors had filed an emergency motion to revoke his bond, alleging he and others confronted someone last month who had cooperated with prosecutors. Torres threatened to kill the person, calling the person a "snitch" and threw rocks at him or her, prosecutors said.
What is certain is that Torres was required to go into jail sometime on Tuesday.
But it's not clear when he left the building. Samborn said after the hearing in which the judge revoked Torres' bond, the prosecutor and the judge left the courtroom. There were no security officers or marshals in the courtroom at the time, Samborn said.
Samborn also said it was unclear if Torres was supposed to report on his own to the marshal's service in the court building and whether he was given time to say goodbye to family members who attended the hearing.
Torres, who according to federal court records also has a pending state drug case, faces a maximum sentence of 40 years in prison, according to court records.
Marshal's Service spokeswoman Belkis Cantor said a warrant had been issued for Torres and officers had searched for Torres late into Wednesday night and again on Thursday.
She said she did not have any details about what happened inside the courtroom.