UPDATE: Cops recapture suspect accidently released from jail

Snafu resulted in release of man wanted in connection to murder

By Emily Gillespie, Columbian Breaking News Reporter



Zackery Ray Searcy

The U.S. Marshal’s Service has recaptured a man mistakenly released from the Clark County Jail, even though he was wanted in connection with a Vancouver murder case.

Zackery Ray Searcy, 20, was arrested at approximately 2:40 p.m. Thursday in Federal Way, south of Seattle.

He will be sent back to Clark County, where he is alleged to have been involved in the March 2012 shooting death of Joshua Schenk.

Searcy was arrested April 18 in Federal Way on an outstanding Clark County warrant for driving with a suspended license. Vancouver police detectives transported him to the Clark County Jail and booked him on the warrant the same day.

Detectives then filed a report recommending Searcy be charged with rendering criminal assistance, a felony.

However, after Searcy appeared in court the next day and resolved the misdemeanor warrant, the felony paperwork had not yet gone through. So Searcy was released by jail staff.

“The paperwork didn’t get entered correctly or in a timely fashion as it should have been,” said Sgt. Fred Neiman, a sheriff’s office spokesman.

Though the Schenck killing is a Vancouver police case, the sheriff’s office is in charge of jail operations.

“He shouldn’t have been released. It was a matter of the paperwork not catching up to the computer,” Neiman said.

He said that jail command staff is reviewing the incident.

“Hopefully, we learn from these incidents and make sure that those things don’t happen again,” Neiman said.

Although the mistaken release happened Friday, Vancouver police did not notify the public until Wednesday and did so only by adding Searcy to a “Most Wanted” page on the agency’s website.

Vancouver police spokeswoman Kim Kapp said that the reason for not sending a news release was to drive online traffic to the agency’s website.

Matthew E. Starr faces a first-degree murder charge in connection with Schenk’s death, with prosecutors claiming that Starr killed Schenk in order to rob him. According to court documents, Starr claims that Schenk was accidentally shot during target practice near Vancouver Lake and so he shot him to “put his friend out of misery.”

He faces a July 15 trial and is currently being held in the Clark County Jail.

Searcy’s alleged involvement in the crime has not been made public. Starr reportedly told police that four people were present when Schenk was shot.

Schenk’s body was found later by a passer-by, who called police.

Police say that Searcy has family in Vancouver, Tacoma, Graham and Bothell, and friends in Federal Way.

Emily Gillespie: 360-735-4522; http://www.twitter.com/col_cops; emily.gillespie@columbian.com.

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