A manhunt is underway across Indiana, in the US, after a murder suspect was accidentally set free from a jail — just two days after being locked up, authorities said.
Kevin Mason, 28, was “mistakenly released” from the Marion County detention centre in Indianapolis on Sept. 13 due to a booking error made by inmate clerks, the sheriff’s office announced Tuesday.
The suspect had been on the lam for two years before his arrest earlier this month on multiple warrants — including the 2021 shooting death of a 29-year-old man in Minnesota, alleged parole violation and firearms possession, the New York Post reports.
He was able to walk free when a clerk committed a major blunder by removing two holds on his file because she thought it was a duplicate booking, sheriff’s Col. James Martin said during a press conference.
The following day, another clerk in Minnesota failed to notice the error and lifted the final hold — allowing Mason to be released.
“Our clerk that was reviewing it sees three Minnesota holds, didn’t realise what she was doing, obviously,” Martin said.
“It’s a critical error, critical mistake. They’re identified very specifically by the originating agency that did it. They have a specific ID number, they’re all different and the case numbers are all different.”
Two inmate clerks have since been fired over the error, Martin said.
“This was an error. This should have not happened. Mason should not have been released from our custody. This was discovered shortly after he was released,” he added.
Prior to his Sept. 11 arrest, Mason was being sought on charges of second-degree murder in the 2021 fatal shooting of Dontevius Ahmad Catchings in the parking lot of the Shiloh Temple in Minneapolis.
“For 27 months I’ve been trying to get some type of justice and then now I just feel like we’re back at square one,” the victim’s sister, Shannell Catchings, told FOX59.
“I just felt like not only is it Indiana’s fault, I feel like it’s Minnesota’s fault as well.”
“I don’t know what happened in that jail and even with the person getting fired, it’s like, OK, we don’t feel no type of relief from because at the end of the day, he’s still out,” she added.
Meanwhile, authorities searching for Mason claimed they kept his accidental release quiet for nearly two weeks in order to maintain a “tactical advantage” over him.
Investigators fear Mason may have fled the state after being set free.
“We believe he has obviously evaded law enforcement since 2021,” Martin said. “We believe that he is pretty good at what he does. We believe that someone, or obviously he has others financing him and helping aid him during this time. Even today, we believe that’s what is going on.”
Mason is described as 5 feet 9 inches tall, with a cross tattooed under his right eye. He also has an “SUB” tattooed on his chest and an unidentified neck tattoo.
This article originally appeared in the New York Post and has been reproduced with permission.