(MINNEAPOLIS, Minn.) — Authorities have expanded their search for a murder suspect who was accidentally released from an Indiana jail due to a clerical error.
Kevin Mason, 28, was sought for more than two years in connection with a 2021 murder in Minneapolis until his arrest last week.
He was mistakenly released from the Adult Detention Center in Indianapolis on Sept. 13, two days after his arrest, due to a “faulty records review by civilian staff,” the Marion County Sheriff’s Office said.
Authorities have determined Mason left Indianapolis the evening of Sept. 13 and “contact has been made with the law enforcement agencies of areas where Mason is believed to have connections,” the sheriff’s office said Friday.
More than 100 officers from multiple agencies were deployed in Indianapolis Wednesday night pursuing multiple leads in the case, according to Col. James Martin with the Marion County Sheriff’s Office.
“It led us to leads outside of Indianapolis to include parallel investigations currently underway within other cities,” Martin told reporters during a press briefing Thursday afternoon.
Martin did not disclose the names of the cities amid the investigation.
The U.S. Marshals Service, which is now leading the investigation, is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to Mason’s capture. Marion County Sheriff Kerry Forestal said in a statement Friday he is “fully confident they will locate Kevin Mason and bring him into custody.”
Mason was arrested on Sept. 11 and mistakenly released around 11:05 a.m. ET on Sept. 13, according to Forestal. Authorities became aware of his release several hours later, around 5:30 p.m., he said.
Investigators learned he called for a ride later that night and his girlfriend, Desiree Oliver, picked him up near the jail, Forestal said.
Oliver obtained a new cell phone, “the deceptive type of behavior we’d expect from somebody when they’re assisting a criminal,” Forestal said during a press briefing on Wednesday. She also purchased men’s underwear, a travel kit and men’s slippers from a Walmart, he said.
Investigators covertly tracked her actions, instead of going public with the search for the suspect, before arresting her on Wednesday on the charge of assisting a criminal, the sheriff said.
Oliver remains in police custody, Martin said on Thursday.
Martin had a message Thursday to those who may be assisting Mason now: “We’re going to be very aggressive in pursuing you. We will find you we will criminally charge you, just as we did as Desiree Oliver.”
“We will not stop and we will not sleep until he is brought back into custody,” he added.
Two Marion County Sheriff’s Office employees were terminated due to Mason’s release, the sheriff’s office said.
“I think I’ve made it pretty well known that we’re short-staffed, they’re underpaid. That’s not an excuse, but it’s a fact,” Forestal said.
Mason is accused of fatally shooting Dontevius Catchings, 29, in the parking lot of a Minneapolis church in June 2021 during a funeral service. The Hennepin County Attorney’s Office charged him with murder in the second degree and firearms possession following the shooting.
Catchings’ mother, Sharita Catchings, told ABC Twin Cities affiliate KSTP the search for the suspect in her son’s murder has been “unbearable.”
“It’s hard, it’s devastating,” Sharita Catchings told KSTP.
“I was a very energetic individual, I’m not like that anymore,” she continued. “Half the time, I don’t want to get out of bed.”
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