Officials set $10,000 reward for location of Minnesota murder suspect mistakenly released from jail

The U.S. Marshal Service will give $10,000 to anyone who shares information that leads to the arrest of a 2021 murder suspect who was mistakenly released from a detention center in Indianapolis last week.

Murder suspect Kevin Mason is believed to have left the Community Justice Campus jail and the city on Sept. 13 due to a records-keeping issue, the Marion County Sheriff's Office said on Friday. Over 300 officers from local departments and the U.S. Marshal Service have joined efforts to locate the suspect.

An official declined to elaborate on where Mason could be hiding but assured that anyone helping him would also be charged.

"I want to reassure the public that a round-the-clock manhunt has been underway ever since," Col. James Martin with the sheriff's office said Tuesday at a news conference. "We will not stop, and we will not sleep until he is back in custody."

At a Wednesday news conference, Marion County Sheriff Kerry Forestal encouraged Mason to surrender. He expressed a desire to end the manhunt quickly citing law enforcement ramp up efforts to catch him at locations they have under surveillance.

"Our plan is to look throughout the city with a uniformed presence and make it uncomfortable for anybody who might be keeping him," Forestal shared. "So, if somebody wants to get him out of their house and happy to sit him on the front porch, we'll come by, because when we knock, we're not going to knock the way we usually do."

Why Kevin Mason was charged with murder

Mason, 28, is wanted on three Minnesota warrants, including murder in connection with a 2021 shooting in Minneapolis. Mason was arrested Sept. 11, two days before his accidental release, in Indianapolis.

Mason is accused of shooting and killing Dontevius A. Catchings, 29, in the Shiloh Temple parking lot after the funeral of a mutual friend, according to local news reports at the time.

"One funeral attendee told authorities that Mason and Catchings were longtime friends, but they got into a fistfight over Mason refusing to return a gun to Catchings," the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported at the time.

Authorities arrest Mason's girlfriend

Desiree Oliver, a 29-year-old nurse working in Carmel, was arrested on charges of assisting a criminal, a Level 5 felony, Sheriff Kerry J. Forestal said at Wednesday's news conference. Forestal said Oliver was in custody and being interrogated by officers on the whereabouts of Mason.

Oliver picked Mason up in her car on Sept. 13 shortly after his accidental release, Forestal said, then obtained a new cell phone and drove to a Walmart on North Keystone where she purchased men's clothing and toiletries. Investigators kept covert tabs on Oliver in hopes she would lead them to Mason.

Oliver, said Forestal, traveled to the area of Southport and Emerson Avenue where he believes Mason might be found.

"If anybody saw her check in to a hotel down in that area, she might be hiding Kevin Mason," Forestal said. "She has not cooperated. We arrested her today at 2 o'clock."

Officials waited nearly a week before announcing Mason's release

Officials waited six days before informing the public of Mason's release to use the time, Martin said, as a "tactical advantage" in keeping him from running underground. The sheriff's office believes Mason remains in Marion County and is receiving help from someone locally.

"We have used this time as the quietness of the situation to not further run him underground and send him running further than what we wanted him to,” Martin shared.

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Two office workers lost their jobs after Mason's release

An internal investigation is underway to determine if any policy or procedural violations occurred, but two sheriff’s record clerks have already been fired as of Sept. 19 for the incident.

How was Mason mistakenly released?

Mason was arrested in Indianapolis on three different warrants — homicide, parole violation, and firearms possession — from three different jurisdictions, according to the sheriff's office.

Authorities in Minnesota waived extradition on one warrant, which may have contributed to the Indianapolis release, Martin said.

A records clerk thought she was "correcting duplicate bookings" on Sept. 12 and removed two of his holds. The next day another jurisdiction removed its hold. Mason was released at 11:05 a.m. Sept. 13 and the sheriff's office became aware of his release at 5:30 p.m. that same day.

What does Kevin Mason look like?

Kevin Mason was mistakenly released from the Marion County Adult Detention Center on Sept. 13, 2023. Police are searching for Mason, who was supposed to be held on warrants in connection with a deadly 2021 shooting in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Kevin Mason was mistakenly released from the Marion County Adult Detention Center on Sept. 13, 2023. Police are searching for Mason, who was supposed to be held on warrants in connection with a deadly 2021 shooting in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Mason is 5 feet 9 inches tall, weighing about 205 pounds with a cross tattoo under his right eye and “SUB” tattooed on his chest. He also has a neck tattoo.

Residents are encouraged to provide any details or tips that might aid law enforcement in identifying and locating Kevin Mason.

People with information are urged to call Crime Stoppers at 317-262-TIPS. Mason is also encouraged to turn himself in through a Safe Surrender program by calling 317-327-7233.

Anyone who sees Mason is asked to call 911.

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This article originally appeared on Indianapolis Star: Kevin Mason: $10,000 reward for location of released murder suspect