All five Echo Glen escapees face charges

The King County Prosecutor’s Office announced Friday, Feb. 4, that it has filed charges against the last of the five teenagers who escaped from the Echo Glen juvenile detention center last month.

County prosecutors previously filed charges against the other four teens on Feb. 1. The five, ranging in age from 14 to 17, each face charges for escape, kidnapping and robbery.

At least two will be tried in adult court including a 16-year-old, who remains at large, and a 17-year-old. County prosecutors said this is required under state law.

Prosecutors have also recommended that a 15-year-old, who had previously been sentenced for a “random gun-violence murder,” according to documents, have his cased heard in adult court. If convicted, prosecutors said the teens will not be held in jail with adults, nor will prosecutors advocate for an extreme or life sentence.

Those convicted in juvenile court are under the state’s control until their 21st birthday. Those under 18 convicted in adult court, under a judge’s discretion, can receive a lesser sentence.

Although the teenagers are being tried in adult court, the Valley Record has chosen not to identify any of them by name.

The five teenagers escaped from Echo Glen in Snoqualmie in a stolen, facility-owned Ford Fusion just before 8 a.m. on Jan. 26, according to charging documents.

According to documents, the five suspects worked together in order to escape the facility. The group assaulted three staff members, including a male nurse and two female counselors, in their escape, documents said. One of the counselors had her hand slashed with a knife, while the other counselor and nurse were locked inside prison cells, according to documents.

Safety improvements

In light of the escape, a Critical Incident Response Team composed of people outside facility management assembled on Jan. 26 to examine the root causes of the escape and improve overall facility safety, the State Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF) announced in a press release.

Echo Glen will see several short-term improvements, including: electric carts replacing vehicles used by those on campus, uniforms for maximum security youth, a single point of entry, a video system replacement and an increased sheriff’s office and security presence.

Investigations and reviews remain ongoing and other policies could be introduced in the future, the DCYF said.