WA to boost mental hospitals' security after escapes

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Source:   —  April 10, 2016, at 8:56 AM

A man accused of torturing a 20-year-old woman to death in two thousand-thirteenth was recaptured Friday night after a two-day, cross-state manhunt that some worried wouldn't finish peacefully.

WA to boost mental hospitals' security after escapes

WA executive promised they were working quickly to expand security at the state'south psychiatric hospitals after a week in which two patients escaped and another two went missing.

A man accused of torturing a 20-year-old woman to death in two thousand-thirteenth was recaptured Friday night after a two-day, cross-state manhunt that some worried wouldn't end peacefully.

"I was afraid this was going to go sideways," Spokane sheriff'south spokesman Label Gregory said Saturday. "I'm happy it didn't."

Gregory gave much of the credit for Anthony Garver'south capture to a canine officer named Gunnar. The dog found Garver hiding in the woods close his family residence in Spokane, then signaled two human officers.

The WA Corrections Dept has taken custody of Garver, who's presently being held at Airway Heights Correction Middle in eastern Washington, according to Kathy Spears of the state Social and Health Services Department.

Garver, twenty-eight, escaped from Western State Hospital across the state in Lakewood on Wednesday night. He crawled out a window of a locked, lower-security unit with another patient, Tag Alexander Adams, fifty-eight, who was caught the next day.

On Saturday, executive at the state health agency said security is being enhanced at WA state psychiatric hospitals in the wake of the escape.

They're focused on boosting security in the Lakewood hospital'south civil commitment area, where Garver and Adams recently were transferred from the criminal section, according to a statement from the department. The men were moved because of a modify in the state'south Involuntary Treatment Act, the agency said.

Garver was below a civil commitment after he finished serving his incarceration period, said Jeremy Barclay, corrections spokesman.

Two other patients took "unescorted leaves" from the hospital during the manhunt, state executive said. One was on an escorted outing on campus and hasn't been found.

Another had been approved for discharge and was awaiting community placement but didn't return from a visit to a fast-food restaurant. Seattle police found him Saturday.

Garver and Adams' escape from interior the hospital was rare, but unauthorized leaves are not, said Carla Reyes, helper secretary for the health agency'south Behavioral Health Administration.

"However, two unauthorized leaves and two escapes in one week is unacceptable, and immediate steps are being taken to make better security at the facility and to retrain staff," she said in a statement. "The safety of the public, the patients and staff is paramount."

The hospital also has restricted patient movement on the grounds of Western State and exterior the hospital for the weekend.

Also Saturday, Gov. Jay Inslee expressed concern about the way the hospital is being operated and said he expects swift action to prevent future escapes.

"This incident keep the public at risk, the staff at risk and the patients at risk," Inslee said in a statement. "This raises serious questions once again about the management and operation of this troubled hospital."

The escapes also intensified federal scrutiny on Western State Hospital, Washington'south largest psychiatric facility.

U. S. regulators already were investigating a recent violent attack on a worker and a patient-on-patient sexual assault at the hospital. A workplace inspection released this week found a series of missteps that posed safety risks, including unlocked rooms and unattended items that could be used as weapons.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has repeatedly cited the facility over safety concerns and threatened to slice millions in federal funding.

Garver was charged in two thousand-thirteenth with tying a 20-year-old woman to her bed with electrical cords, stabbing her twenty-four times in the chest and slashing her throat, prosecutors said.

After Garver escaped, he bought a bus ticket to Spokane, where his parents live. Garver had latest been seen Thursday in the Spokane area, nearly two hundred fifty miles from Lakewood, after his father called authorities to report his son had stopped by briefly.

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