The Free Press, Mankato, MN

July 17, 2014

Suspected deadly drug dealer now wanted

Authorities say Tyler Caputo left earlier this month

By Dan Nienaber

---- — MANKATO — A 21-year-old Mankato man, who posted a $100,000 bond for his release from jail after being charged with murder for allegedly providing the drugs that killed two people, is apparently on the run.

Tyler Anthony Caputo's probation officer requested a warrant for his arrest after he failed to report for three drug tests between June 16 and July 8. She also reported Blue Earth County Human Services staff had information from Caputo's family on July 11 saying Caputo had traveled to Chicago.

Family members also said Caputo was planning to travel to Ohio for a music festival, according to the warrant application. Caputo's release requirements say he's not allowed to leave Minnesota without court approval.

Caputo has been charged with two counts of third-degree murder and felony drug dealing. The charges stem from incidents in March where two people died in Mankato after taking the dangerous synthetic drug 25C-NBOMe. One of the victims, 17-year-old Chloe Moses, thought she was taking LSD. The other person who died was 22-year-old Louis Nathan Folson.

The warrant application also said Caputo's probation agent, Jackie Neve, called him on his cellphone at 3:40 p.m. July 11. Neve reported he answered the phone, then ended the call when he realized who was calling. The warrant request was granted by District Court Judge Bradley Walker later that day.

Caputo is scheduled to appear for an omnibus hearing for the murder charges on July 25. Chris Rovney, assistant Blue Earth County attorney, said he checked with the county Sheriff's Department Thursday and learned Caputo had not been apprehended and his warrant was still active.

Caputo has been stopped twice for driving after revocation, once in Blue Earth County on April 10 and once in Nicollet County on June 1, since he was released from jail. In both cases he paid his fine without appearing in court. His family told social services staff he had used a relative's vehicle to drive to Chicago and Ohio, the warrant application said.

Rovney also has filed a notice saying he will be requesting a longer prison sentence than is recommended by state guidelines if Caputo is found guilty of the murder and drug charges. One of the reasons for the upward departure notice, Rovney said, is that Caputo was providing drugs to other people who, in turn, sold them to the victims.

Those people are also facing third-degree murder charges. They are Trace Hafner, 17, of Blue Earth, who was dating Moses and allegedly took the drug with her, and James Inman, 30, of Mankato, who allegedly sold the drugs used by Folson.

A 15-year-old boy also was involved, but whether or not he is facing juvenile charges is not public information.