Federal and local authorities are searching for one of two men who escaped from Western State Hospital. He is considered a potential threat to the public. The other man was taken into police custody Thursday.
A man described as dangerous who escaped from the state psychiatric hospital in Lakewood was seen in the Spokane Valley area Thursday evening, according to the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office.
Anthony Garver, 28, visited his parents’ house near Forker Road in East Valley, according to The Spokesman-Review.
After a massive search of the wooded area, Spokane County sheriff deputies and U.S. Marshals ended the operation before 8:30 p.m. and said they would resume Friday, the newspaper reports. Patrols would remain in the area.
Law enforcement has received information in the past that Garver may have a cache of undiscovered weapons hidden in the East Valley area, Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich told The Spokesman-Review.
Hours before the spotting, police said they believe Garver — one of two men who escaped from Western State Hospital on Wednesday evening — bought a Greyhound bus ticket Wednesday night from Seattle to his hometown of Spokane.
The man has a history of making violent threats, and “has aspired to emulate” the Oklahoma City bomber, according to court records.
He has been described by police in the past as a survivalist who had threatened mass shootings and had possessed military-style weapons and explosives.
The last time he evaded authorities, in 2009, the search lasted a month before he was found in the woods.
Garver had been involuntarily committed at Western State since 2014, when he was deemed incompetent to stand trial on a murder charge in connection with the stabbing death of Phillipa S. Evans-Lopez in Lake Stevens in 2013. He is considered a threat to the public, and authorities urge anyone who sees him to keep a safe distance and call 911.
He and another man, Mark Alexander Adams, apparently climbed out a first-story window which had bolts that had been loosened. Adams was caught and taken into police custody without incident Thursday in Des Moines.
Lakewood police Lt. Chris Lawler said authorities notified “every mode of transportation,” local police departments and law-enforcement agencies, motels and hospitals about Garver’s escape.
A Pierce County bus driver told police he picked up Garver about 6 p.m. Wednesday near the hospital, traveling east. The man believed to be Garver might have gotten off at the Towne Center Transit Center in Lakewood, according to police.
Kris Evans, mother of the slain Evans-Lopez, told KOMO TV she’s scared.
She said she wasn’t pleased Garver ended up at Western State Hospital rather than prison, but was “content” he was locked up, at least.
“He’s out there among us, so not just my safety and family’s safety, but everybody’s safety” is at risk, she said. “He’s very dangerous.”
Garver, who may also go by Anthony Burke or Deryk Garver, is white and has long, curly brown hair and a beard or mustache. He is 5 feet, 8 inches tall, 250 pounds, and was last seen wearing a brown, faded sweatshirt and orange flip-flops.
Escapee in custody
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Adams, the other man who escaped, was captured about 10 a.m. Thursday in the 2200 block of Seventh Avenue South in Des Moines after a tip from someone who had seen his face in news coverage, police said.
“He had a calm demeanor and was taken into custody without incident,” said Bob Bohl, a Des Moines Police Department commander. “It was easy.”
Lakewood police said Adams traveled Wednesday night from Lakewood to the Federal Way Transit Center, where he asked how to get to the airport. Bohl said police did not know why Adams came to Des Moines.
He was captured near a church and elementary school.
Adams had been at Western State since June 2015.
How escape happened
The two men climbed out the window of a room in the facility’s locked civil ward and left together on foot, according to news releases from the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS), which runs the hospital, and from Lakewood police.
The room was designed to house four patients, according to Kathy Spears, a DSHS spokeswoman, and other patients were in the room at the time of the escape.
The window, about 6 feet tall and 2½ feet wide, opens with a key, Spears wrote in an email. It wasn’t removed from its frame. Rather, loosened bolts allowed the window to pivot, with one side swinging out and the other swinging in, according to Spears.
The drop to the ground would be about 10 to 12 feet, Spears said.
The men had been last seen in the dining hall about 6 p.m. Wednesday, according to the DSHS news release. Hospital staff discovered that the patients were missing about 6:45 p.m. during an hourly patient-status check, but they didn’t contact Lakewood police until 7:16 p.m., Spears said.
DSHS isn’t aware of any previous incidents in which a patient escaped through a key-locked window, according to the agency’s news release.
The hospital is undertaking a safety review and will have outside experts check the facility, said Carla Reyes, assistant director of DSHS behavioral health administration, in the statement.
“We can never have too many fresh eyes reviewing a situation as serious as this,” Reyes said in prepared remarks. “As always, safety — for the public, staff and other patients — remains a priority.”
Both of the men who escaped were committed under a law that allows a judge to dismiss criminal charges and commit patients to a civil ward if “restoration services” haven’t worked and they are a danger to themselves or others.
Garver’s criminal history
The U.S. Marshals Service has a warrant out for Garver, according to police.
In a forensic mental-health-status report from June 2015, a state psychologist wrote that Garver met diagnostic criteria for schizophrenia. He had limited memory, hallucinations and paranoid delusions.
The psychologist wrote Garver could not understand the charges or court procedures he faced and could not consult with his attorney with a “reasonable degree of rational understanding,” because of his symptoms.
In court records, police described Garver as a survivalist and loner who had threatened mass shootings, was anti-government, had possessed military-style weapons and explosives in the past, and had threatened to shoot anyone who confronted him.
“Anthony has wanted to create explosive devices in the past using fertilizer and has aspired to emulate Timothy McVeigh,” an officer wrote in probable-cause statements, referring to the 1995 Oklahoma City bomber. “Anthony has also studied and downloaded bomb making information from Anarchist Cookbook’s (sic) and has studied Al-Queda (sic) training manuals.”
Garver pleaded guilty to weapons charges in 2007 and was sentenced to prison.
After Garver failed to report to a work-release program in 2009, officials spent a month searching for him, finding him in the woods near Mount Spokane wearing camouflage clothing.
In 2010, Garver led the Montana Highway Patrol on a chase, at one point driving the wrong way on Interstate 90 and trying to hit cars head-on.
Western State’s troubles
Western State Hospital has been under scrutiny recently. Hundreds of employees at the facility have been assaulted by patients, which has led to millions in medical costs and thousands of missed days of work.
Federal regulators have issued the hospital a number of warnings and threatened to pull federal funding.
In 2011, a 26-year-old man who called himself “the son of Satan” and believed he could kill at random walked away from the facility. He was captured a day later.
In 2009, a 33-year-old patient left the hospital and vanished for two hours before Western State employees spotted him. He was apprehended by Lakewood police without incident.