"Please release detainer on bove subject detainer is not valid."
With those 10 somewhat garbled words faxed from the Darlington County Sheriff's Office, a man wanted on a charge of murder walked out of Broad River Correctional Institution in Columbia on Monday.
How Mardrall Deon Addison who was still on the loose late Friday could be freed after prison officials did everything they were supposed to do and more boils down to a simple matter of human error, prison and sheriff's officials agree.
They also agree the mistake took place squarely in Darlington County.
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"SCDC did what they were required to do with the information they had," said Chief Deputy Tom Gainey of the Darlington County Sheriff's Office.
Corrections documents show officials followed routine steps leading up to Addison's release, including:
• Contacting the sheriff's office in early December to inform them that Addison, 22, would be released Dec. 31 and to arrange for Addison to be transferred back to Darlington.
• Sending copies of a "hold" and four warrants filed by the Darlington County Detention Center along with that notice.
A prisons official even went a step further and called the sheriff's office, Corrections spokesman Josh Gelinas said. That employee was told the sheriff's office was not coming for Addison.
Then came the 10-word fax on Dec. 19 from the Darlington County Sheriff's Office.
Addison was released Monday, setting off a hunt for the suspect.
At the same time, the sheriff's office is conducting an internal investigation to "determine exactly what happened," Gainey said.
Addison already had been charged with murder in the shooting death of 19-year-old Wildrikus Hough on June 23, when he began serving time at Broad River Correctional Institution for a probation violation last summer, Gainey said.
He also is charged with assault and battery with intent to kill and two counts of possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime in the incident, Gainey said.
Information about Addison has been entered into NCIC, the National Crime Information Center.
U.S. marshals, SLED agents and officers and deputies from other agencies are helping the Darlington sheriff's office search for Addison. "We have no intelligence to lead us to believe he's anywhere but in the Darlington-Hartsville area," Gainey said.
The Department of Corrections has given investigators all the information it has about Addison, including people who visited him during his stay from July 23 through Dec. 31, who put money into his prison account and his family contacts.
Prison officials have no plans to change the department's hold policy.
"We've reviewed our protocol, and we are confident in our system," Gelinas said. "We asked them to fax back to us in writing that they did not want him and they did that."
At that point, he said, prison officials' hands were tied, since holding an inmate longer than his sentence constitutes false imprisonment. So, Addison was released.