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Convicted murderer who was accidentally freed has been caught

Thomas Aaron Whitlock, a 31-year-old convicted of second-degree murder in 2009.

 

A convicted murderer who was accidentally released from custody while awaiting a court appearance in South Carolina on Tuesday has been apprehended, the York County Sheriff's Office said on Saturday.

Thomas Aaron Whitlock, a 31-year-old with an "extensive" criminal history, was let go Monday afternoon from the York County Detention Center -- which only realized the mistake nearly 24 hours later when arrangements were being made to return him to prison in Windsor, N.C., according to the Sheriff's Office.


"I could go into a lot of discussions that we've had as to how this took place," Sheriff Bruce Bryant told The Charlotte Observer. "We deal with thousands and thousands of prisoners each year, book close to 7,000 prisoners each year. There has been a mistake made."

On Saturday, the Sheriff's Office announced Whitlock had been caught on East Camp Wisdom Road in Dallas, Texas, at the home belonging to the mother of his child. He surrendered without incident, according to a statement on the Sheriff Office's website.

"Members of the York County Sheriff’s Office and other law enforcement agencies have worked around-the-clock to capture Whitlock since he was released in error on February 27, 2012," the statement added.

South Carolina records show Whitlock had previously been convicted on burglary and robbery. He was arrested in April 2010 by FBI agents who found him hiding under a home in Dallas, Texas, and he was later sentenced to between 11 and 14 years in the 2009 death of Jamie Thompson in Charlotte, the Charlotte Observer said.

Whitlock also has drug possession charges in his criminal history, which the Sheriff's Office described to the Charlotte Observer as "extensive."

The Sheriff’s Office said it had worked with other law enforcement agencies and the North Carolina Division of Adult Correction to find the fugitive. Bryant also has launched an investigation into how Whitlock was released.

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