A suspect in connection with the murder of rapper Young Dolph is wanted in Memphis after being released under mysterious circumstances.
U.S. Marshals arrested Shundale Barnett last month in Indiana alongside accused Justin Johnson.
Barnett was said to be a passenger in the vehicle driven by Johnson, also known as Straight Dropp when they were arrested at a gas station.
Barnett was initially charged as an after-the-fact accessory to first-degree murder after allegedly helping Johnson evade law enforcement in Memphis.
He was held in Clay County, Indiana, and was scheduled to be extradited back to Memphis. However, according to a News 3 Memphis report, the suspect was released from custody on January 21.
It is unclear why third suspect in Young Dolph’s murder was released
The active warrant on 26-year-old Shundale Barnett now also includes the additional charges of attempted first-degree murder and theft of property.
The Shelby County Sheriff’s Office, currently looking for the suspect, reportedly requested his release without explanation. The reason he was released remains presently a mystery, as officials said they could not comment due to the pending case.
According to Clay County Sheriff Paul Harden, Shelby County told them to release Barnett.
“On January 11, Mr. Shundale Barnett was brought to the Clay County Jail by the Indiana State Police from an arrest on I-70. He was booked in the Clay County Jail on an outstanding warrant from Shelby County, Tennessee,” said Sheriff Harden, according to News 3.
“We held (Barnett), contacted Shelby County, and held him on their warrant, and we were contacted on January 21, and they told us that they were no longer wanting to come up and pick up Mr. Barnett and that we were to release him at that time.”
According to Action News 5, when asked at a press conference Thursday why the suspect was released, Shelby County District Attorney General Amy Weirich did not divulge any details.
“I can’t, because it’s a pending case. It is a pending investigation, it is a pending prosecution, and we can’t get into that at this time. When we can, we will answer all those questions that I know the public has,” Weirich said.
Authorities said they do not currently know Shundale’s whereabouts, and it appears that the suspect is on the run.
The two murder suspects in custody pled not guilty
Young Dolph, real name Adolph Robert Thornton Jr., died after two masked men stepped out of a stolen white Mercedes Benz and opened fire on him, killing him instantly.
Prosecutors believe 23-year-old Justin Johnson and 32-year-old Cornelius Smith are responsible for the death of the beloved Memphis rapper.
Johnson and Smith pled not guilty in court after attaining legal representation. The next hearing in their case has been set for March 24.
A motive for the crime has not been released; however, as previously reported, prosecutors believe they know why the accused men allegedly killed Dolph.