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Chopper chase after violent Echo Glen escape; Teens recaptured
Six inmates from the Echo Glen Children’s Center in Snoqualmie are back in custody after a late-night escape on Saturday, Sept. 22.
The group of boys, three 14-year-olds and three 15-year-olds, assaulted a guard at the detention facility around 11:10 p.m.
Before fleeing into nearby woods the boys knocked out the guard, stole her keys and radio, and locked her in a room, where she was found, still unconscious, 20 minutes later by other inmates.
Officers from the King County Sheriff’s Department, Washington State Patrol and Snoqualmie Police Department all responded to the incident.
“When this happens, we call in everybody from everywhere,” said King County Sheriff’s spokeswoman Katie Larson, who estimated at least 15 sheriff’s deputies aided in the search.
Officers quickly set up a search perimeter in the woods, and deployed canine search teams. They also called King County’s Guardian One helicopter, which was instrumental in narrowing down the location of the fugitives.
“Guardian One went up and then using the FLIR (Forward Looking Infrared Thermal Imaging), they were able to find the heat signatures (of the boys)” Larson said.
“Initially, they were all together, but when they looked up and saw Guardian One, they split up into three groups of two,” she added.
Search teams on foot were directed by information from the helicopter, and using search dogs, they had located all six of the escapees.
“By 2:30 in the morning, we had everybody,” Larson said.
One boy, bitten by a police dog during the search, was taken to Harborview Medical Center for treatment. The other five were booked into the King County Youth Center in Seattle, and all will be charged with felony counts of second-degree assault and unlawful imprisonment for their treatment of the guard, and a felony count of escape.
The six fugitives were considered high-risk because of their previous convictions on assault and/or firearms charges.