Graves County inmate, recognized for saving lives during Dec. 10 tornado, released Tuesday

A Second Chance for former Graves County Inmate Marco Sanchez -- after he's released from jail days early.
Published: Mar. 1, 2022 at 7:29 PM CST|Updated: Mar. 2, 2022 at 11:35 AM CST
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GRAVES COUNTY, Ky. (KFVS) - Second chances come in many different ways.

A former Graves County inmate who helped in a crisis is now a free man.

Back on the night of December 10, Marco Sanchez was working in the Candle Factory when the tornado hit Mayfield.

After realizing he was okay, Sanchez realized others weren’t as fortunate and began saving as many as he could.

On Tuesday, March 1, Sanchez was released from being incarcerated.

“This is really God,” said Sanchez. “I’ve had time to evaluate what I went through that night and everything that I did, I can honestly say it was God.”

After the Candle Factory was leveled, Sanchez dug himself out of all the rubble and began searching for others.

“So when I found her it was, she didn’t have shoes and I took my shoes off and I put them on her and I was able to get her out, walked her out and when I did that I knew there was more people down in there,” said Sanchez.

After hearing about Sanchez’ efforts, that’s when the Graves County Sheriff’s Office took notice of what he did that night.

“Absolutely went above and beyond who in fact was injured himself, a broken leg and cracked ribs,” said Graves County Sheriff John Hayden. “And we kept hearing from people on site out there that he kept going back into the rubble and trying to free people and pulling people from the rubble and caught got my curiosity a little bit, because I just kept hearing about it.”

Sheriff Hayden believed Sanchez deserved to be recognized for his efforts.

“We need to try to help him you know, sometimes good people make mistakes,” said Hayden. “Just because you’ve made a mistake in you into the criminal justice system doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re a bad person. And I think people sometimes stereotype others. And this if there was ever an example, a good example of why you should never judge a book by its cover. It’s this situation right here.”

Marco’s sister in Arizona, Gabriela Matloub, saw the Facebook post the Graves County Sheriff’s Office made about recognizing her brother for his actions.

Her reaction was to catch a plane to Kansas City.

From there, Gabriela and her brother drove to surprise Sanchez.

They had not seen each other in 15 years.

“Overwhelmed, as I said, overwhelmed with joy and just belief that I was actually going to hug him and seen him ‘cause I didn’t know about him for a long time,” said Gabriela Matloub.

When reflecting on when she first read the sheriff’s office’s Facebook post, Gabriela said she could not believe her brother’s heroic actions.

“The strength and the selflessness and just the thought of not thinking of him at that moment whether he was in pain or not just to know that there was other people that needed him and find the strength to go back and help,” said Matloub.

After being released, the Graves County Sheriff’s Office had a special surprise for Sanchez.

“I got a car, I got a car, and I that’s really, what I really mean, I mean my sister and everything but, the car was really something John,” said Sanchez.

A Graves County inmate, recognized for his heroics during the December 10 tornado, was...
A Graves County inmate, recognized for his heroics during the December 10 tornado, was surprised with a car on his release from jail on March 1.(KFVS)

The Graves County sheriff is going to assist Sanchez with getting on his feet.

He said he plans on spending quality time with family.

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