PRIOR LAKE, Minn. - The search for an SUV that was thought to be used in an escape in Prior Lake for a man wanted in connection with a murder, has turned out to be a false alarm.
The Ramsey County Sheriff's Office has identified the SUV that was suspected in connection with the manhunt for Ty Hoffman.
The owner of the silver SUV contacted law enforcement officials upon seeing the vehicle in the local media. Ramsey County Sheriff's Officer Inspector Rob Allen reports that no connection exists between the vehicle's owner and Hoffman.
Ramsey County Chief Deputy John Kirkwood told reporters in a quick briefing that detectives began surveillance of Mystic Lake Casino for Hoffman on Tuesday after a tip from the Mdewankanton Sioux Community that he had been inside the casino.
Kirkwood said it's not known how long the man was in the casino. Kirkwood also said it's not known whether Hoffman was gambling or trying to launder any money from a bank robbery Sunday in Blaine that has been linked to him.
Detectives are looking into the possibility that Hoffman took public transportation from Blaine to Prior Lake.
Plans were made to set up an extensive perimeter and search beginning Wednesday morning but during what Kirkwood called "a cursory search" around 7:45 a.m., law enforcement spooked a man in a ball cap matching Hoffman's description who was hunkered down in some tall grass. That man ran into the woods and slipped away.
Hoffman is charged for fatally shooting Kelly Phillips at an Arden Hills gas station last month. Hoffman is Phillips' ex-boyfriend.
The reward for the arrest of Hoffman remains at $25,000.
In a statement released Wednesday by Kelly Phillips' friends, it stated: "We ask the public to closely examine photos of Ty shown in the media, to be on the lookout for him and to immediately call 911 if you think you may have seen him. Remember that he is considered armed and very dangerous, so take utmost care in any encounter with him."