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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

This Tri-Cities felon went to visit his dying grandmother, and never returned to jail

By Cameron Probert Tri-City Herald

Police are searching for a Franklin County inmate who failed to return after his grandmother’s funeral.

Michael Paul Nelson, 33, was scheduled to start what was supposed to be a two-year prison sentence with drug treatment.

Judge Norma Rodriguez allowed him to visit his dying grandmother after he pleaded guilty to two counts of possessing a stolen vehicle and three counts of second-degree theft in Franklin, Walla Walla and Yakima counties, according to court documents.

“In very close consultation with the state, there is an agreement that he should be given the opportunity to visit with her before being sentenced and transferred to DOC,” according to the initial motion for the furlough.

He was scheduled to return on Oct. 27.

While he faced a sentencing range of three years and eight months to nearly five years in prison, prosecutors and defense attorneys agreed to get him into a program that would help him with drug treatment.

It would have cut his sentence to two years in prison and another two years on probation while he was being treated.

After being released on Oct. 24, he reported his grandmother died, and he wanted to attend the funeral. He was supposed to come back at 4 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 2.

As part of the agreement, both sides noted he could lose the ability to get reduced sentence.

Judge Jackie Shea Brown and Deputy Prosecutor Frank Jenny signed off on the extension.

But he didn’t return to jail Thursday, and now the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office is asking for help finding him. Nelson is 6-foot and 190 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes. He’s also goes by the name Michael Godfrey.

Anyone with information on his whereabouts is asked to contact the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office.