Update (2:40 p.m. on Sept. 20)
Marion County Sheriff Kerry Forestal will provide an update on the search for 28-year-old Kevin Mason at a news conference Wednesday afternoon. According to a statement from the Marion County Sheriff’s Office, the conference will be at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday.
Click here to read about what happened during Wednesday’s conference.
INDIANAPOLIS — The Marion County Sheriff’s Office is asking the public to assist with its search for a murder suspect who was accidentally released from the Adult Detention Center (ADC) on Sept. 13.
A press release sent by MCSO officials on Tuesday indicates 28-year-old Kevin Mason was mistakenly released because of a faulty records review performed by inmate clerks. In a press conference held at 3 p.m., officials reported Mason was initially taken into custody on Sept. 11.
MCSO is conducting an internal investigation to determine if any possible policy or procedural violations led to Mason’s release. The investigation has led to the termination of two MCSO inmate records clerks.
In its initial press release, the sheriff’s office reported that authorities in Minnesota waived extradition on one warrant. Officials believe the waiver may have helped contribute to Mason’s accidental release.
“On 9/12, one of our inmate records clerks thought she was correcting duplicate bookings for Mr. Mason,” said Col. James Martin with MCSO. “She removed two of the holds, leaving one additional hold for Mr. Mason. The next day on 9/13, Ramsay County out of Minnesota lifted the last and final hold that we had booked on for Mr. Mason.
“That clerk, and two other clerks, were then charged with reviewing all of the booking information and then did not catch the error made the day before.”
Martin added that Mason was released from the ADC shortly after MCSO clerks made the booking error. Officials reported that a “round-the-clock” manhunt has been in progress since Mason left prison.
The family of the man killed, 29-year-old Dontevius Catchings, spoke with FOX59/CBS4 about the tragic loss and how this release has caused even more heartbreak.
“There’s no words to gather the pain that a person feels when their loved ones get murdered, taken off this earth,” said the victim’s mother, Sharita Catchings.
Sharita and other family members said they have been filled with all sorts of anxiety and depression ever since the 2021 shooting.
“It hurts and it consumes me,” Sharita said. “It’s killing me. I mean it’s just like right now when they released him, it’s like this is starting all over again for me.”
Martin said MCSO wanted to maintain a “tactical advantage” in its search for Mason, and that is why deputies did not immediately inform the public of his accidental release.
Mason was wanted in Minnesota on three warrants, per MCSO officials. He is connected to a fatal shooting that occurred in Minneapolis in 2021.
A press release sent by officials in Minnesota on Sept. 20, 2021, alleges that Mason shot and killed an adult male on June 11, 2021. At the time of the press release, investigators in Minnesota believed Mason fled the North Star State for Miami or Boynton Beach, Florida.
The Hennepin County Attorney’s Office in Minnesota initially charged Mason with murder with intent that was not premeditated and illegal possession of ammunition and a firearm.
During his press conference Tuesday, Col. Martin corrected initial reports police in Minnesota released. He said investigators now believe Mason may have been hiding in central Indiana since he allegedly killed a man in Minnesota in 2021.
Officials think it is possible that Mason fled from central Indiana after he was released from prison on Sept. 13.
“We believe he has obviously evaded law enforcement since 2021,” Col. 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.”
Dontevius Catchings’ sister said the release is unacceptable. She said she feels both Indiana and Minnesota law enforcement officials are to blame for the mistake.
“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,” said Shannell Catchings. “I just felt like not only is it Indiana’s fault, I feel like it’s Minnesota’s fault as well.”
Shannell said she believes the public attention will allow people in the community to help keep an eye out for Mason, but she said she worries it could be harder to find him once again.
“I feel like he’s going to move way more cautious, way more smart,” she said. “And I just, I don’t know.”
Both Catchings’ sister and mother said the Marion County Sheriff’s Office needs to be held accountable for such a critical mistake. The two said they are demanding answers, accountability and assurance that something like this never happens again.
“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,” said Shannell.
Marion County Republican Party Chairman Joe Elsener weighed in on Mason’s accidental release Tuesday afternoon. Elsener said the incident demonstrates the dysfunction that exists in Marion County’s government.
Marion County Republican Party Chairman Joe Elsener
Under the current leadership, the dysfunction in Marion County is pervasive. Today’s news of the accidental release of a homicide suspect is yet another example of the failures across our city government that seem to only be becoming more frequent. The mayor, prosecutor, and sheriff are all elected to run their offices and keep our residents safe. The continued mismanagement and dysfunction have real consequences for residents of Marion County and beyond. Our city is in desperate need of new leadership
Mason is described as a 5-foot-9, 205-pound male with a cross tattooed under his right eye. Mason also has “SUB” tattooed on his chest and an unidentified neck tattoo.
Hoosiers in the area are encouraged to provide any details or tips that might help law enforcement locate and identify Mason. MCSO’s Criminal Division is leading the search and being assisted by the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department and United States Marshal Service.
Those with information on Mason’s whereabouts are encouraged to call Crime Stoppers at (317) 262-TIPS. Officials are also urging Mason to turn himself in through their safe surrender program by calling (317) 327-SAFE.
Those that actively locate Mason should call 911 immediately. Police do not advise civilians to make any attempts to capture Mason themselves.