Tyrone Leung has wonderful memories of raising his grandson, Jamey Thompson.
"Lots of memories. Good memories," Leung said.
Two and half years ago, Thompson was shot multiple times and killed at an apartment on Old Concord Road in northeast Charlotte.
Leung thought it was all over when 31-year-old Thomas Whitlock was caught and sentenced to 14 years in prison for the crime.
He thought it was over until late Tuesday night. That's when he found out that by some bizarre mistake, Whitlock had been accidentally released from a prison in York County.
"We had to find out the hard way, by listening to the late news last night," he said.
Leung woke up his sleeping wife to tell her the news.
"She didn't take it well at all," he said.
On Wednesday, Eyewitness News learned that Whitlock asked to be taken to York County to face a pending drug charge against him there.
"Some people don't like to have anything hanging over their heads," said York County Sheriff Bruce Bryant.
Whitlock was brought to York County on Feb. 8, and appeared in court this week. He was supposed to be transferred back to a state prison in North Carolina. Instead, a paperwork error triggered his release.
"We're human. A mistake was made. There's no excuse for it except that it was human error," Bryant said. "We are very, very concerned about this individual being free."
Though Bryant said he did not want to point fingers, he blamed incomplete paperwork for the error. Bryant said after Whitlock's court appearance, documents were sent down to the detention center. However, those documents only said that Whitlock's drug case was disposed of. They did not mention his murder conviction in Charlotte, or the need to transfer him back there.
"The officers that released him had no knowledge that he was serving a sentence in the state of North Carolina," Bryant said.
There is now an internal investigation into the incident, but no one has lost their job at this time. Also, deputies along with multiple law enforcement agencies are searching non-stop for Whitlock. Though he has family in Rock Hill, they don't believe he's still in the immediate area.
Leung said he's stunned, as well as afraid that his grandson's killer could return to Charlotte.
"A convicted killer just up and walks away? Escapes just (like) that into thin air. He could be wanting to come back and do bodily harm to somebody up here," he said.
Whitlock left jail wearing khaki pants, a white T-shirt, a button-up brown shirt and white tennis shoes. The sheriff's office is offering a $5,000 reward for information that leads to his arrest.
Sheriff's office spokesman Lt. Mike Baker told Channel 9 there is likely surveillance video that captured Whitlock leaving the jail. He said the sheriff's office was not going to release that at this time.