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Family of slain Oklahoma woman startled by false notice saying killer released from custody

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TULSA, Oklahoma — The family of an Oklahoma woman killed by her fiance three years ago was startled after receiving a false notification that said he'd been released from state custody.

Kevin Sweat was sentenced last month to three life terms without parole after pleading guilty in the 2011 death of 23-year-old Ashley Taylor and in the 2008 deaths of Skyla Whitaker, 11, and Taylor Paschal-Placker, 13.

Taylor's father and stepmother woke up Wednesday to find a message on their phones from Vinelink, an inmate notification system, saying that Sweat had been released.

"I was scared to death," Faye Taylor said. "I was emotionally distraught. I was afraid for our lives, our families lives. I just didn't know what to do, where to go."

But Sweat hadn't been freed — he was transferred from the Lexington Assessment and Reception Center to the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester.

A Vinelink spokeswoman said the service is merely a conduit of inmate information. Department of Corrections spokesman Jerry Massie said a worker might have checked the wrong box in listing Sweat as being "released" instead of "transferred."

Sweat wasn't a suspect in Whitaker and Paschal-Placker's deaths until he was questioned in Taylor's disappearance.

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