'Killer' still at large from psychiatric hospital

2016-04-08 09:32

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Seattle – One of two men who escaped from a troubled psychiatric facility was caught on Thursday, but the other, who had been charged with murder but found mentally incompetent to stand trial, remained at large.

Police and hospital officials said Mark Alexander Adams, 58, and Anthony Garver, 28, crawled through a window of a locked unit of Washington state's largest psychiatric hospital on Wednesday night. Authorities believe Garver bought a bus ticket from Seattle across the state to Spokane and officials there are on alert.

Adams was found without incident on Thursday morning after someone recognised him on a bus, Lakewood police Lt Chris Lawler said.

But the search continued for Garver, who was arrested on suspicion of murder in 2013. He had been accused of tying a woman to a bed with electrical cords at her home and torturing her to death, Snohomish County Assistant Prosecutor Craig Matheson said.

US regulators have repeatedly cited Western State Hospital over safety concerns and threatened to cut millions in federal funding. The Centres for Medicare and Medicaid Services recently extended the hospital's deadline for fixing the problems from April 1 to May 3.

Officials are conducting a safety review of the hospital and will bring in outside experts to help, said Carla Reyes, assistant director of the Department of Social and Health Services' Behavioural Health Administration.

The state has a history of underfunding its mental health programmes, including its facilities, said Lauren Simonds, executive director for the state chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness Washington.

She said she hopes funding added during the recent legislative session will help move the state from being ranked lowest in the nation.

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