SNOQUALMIE, Wash. - A 16-year-old boy is in custody after he escaped from the Echo Glen Children’s Center Wednesday night.
King County Sheriff’s Office Captain Tim Meyer told FOX 13 News that the teen jumped a fence around 8:30 p.m.
Echo Glen is operated by the Washington State Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF). Officials with the sheriff's office previously described it as is a detention facility for kids that are in custody for some of the most serious crimes.
Managers with DCYF explained the teen escaped the Echo Glen campus by climbing through a gap in a 10 to 12-foot tall fenced enclosure without hurting anyone. They said just two hours and 20 minutes later, the sheriff’s office tracked the boy down. He was found hiding in Madeline Sutorius' backyard just a couple miles away from the center.
"We were sound asleep in our bed and I hear yelling, and it’s not typical in our neighborhood. So, I was going to open the window to see what was going on, and I looked out in our backyard and there’s six or seven police officers with their flashlights, a man in an orange jumpsuit on the ground," said Sutorius.
The wife and mother said she does not know the teenager and why he chose her property to hide from law enforcement. Sutorius seems to think the boy ran down the alley of her neighborhood trying every gate before finding hers unlocked.
Deputies, a K-9 unit and the Washington State Patrol’s air support searched the area and found the teen. Investigators further explained their efforts to the Sutorius family.
"They had helicopters, and they actually found him with thermal tracking in our backyard hiding," said Sutorius.
Deputies said he was taken into custody at about 10 p.m.
The teen was booked at the King County Youth Center and faces charges of escape. He is expected to appear in court Thursday.
Community members said they have growing concerns how the kids keep getting out custody. They are looking to the state for solutions.
"They just need to sit down and look at all their systems and see where the weaknesses are in their systems," said Jean Lane who lives near the arrest scene. "That’s not an easy job to work there. And they need people who are going to feel supported."
Echo Glen had to make security changes this year after five teens escaped the facility in late January. Four teens were caught weeks after and the fifth teen was captured in March. Some security and safety enhancements include:
- Replacing all staff vehicles for electronic carts and all-terrain carts
- Requiring uniforms for maximum security youth
- Increasing security rounds
- Requiring panic alarms and radios when staff work with youth
DCYF said crews are almost done replacing the front gate at Echo Glen that will be key-card controlled and video activated.
Echo Glen Children's Center is a youth rehabilitation facility in Snoqualmie that serves Washington state's highest-risk youth.
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