Mad in America: One psych hospital escapee caught, other still on lam


One dangerous man who’d escaped a Washington state psychiatric hospital is now back in custody. But the man he fled with — who’d been committed after being charged with murder — remains on the loose, and a real threat to anyone in his path.

The arrest of 58-year-old Mark Alexander Adams in Des Moines, a city about 15 miles south of downtown Seattle, was cause for relief among police in Lakewood, where Western State Hospital sits.

Still, the fugitive with an even more horrific track record remains on the lam.

That fugitive, Anthony Garver, was first caught in the summer of 2013 for allegedly tying a woman to a bed with electric cords, then stabbing her to death.

Both Garver and Adams had been ruled not competent to stand trial.

Pair ‘got a considerable head start’

Both Garver and Adams had been committed for mental illness treatment to Western State, described on its website as “one of the largest psychiatric hospitals west of the Mississippi” with more than 800 beds.

The two been seen in that medical facility’s dining hall around 6 p.m. Wednesday, according to Lakewood police.

They weren’t noticed missing until about 1½ hours later after having gotten out — likely through a loose window, which roommates told police was manipulated over five months to open enough to escape from, according to Lakewood police spokesman Chris Lawler.

From there, Garver and Adams apparently walked off together.

“They got a considerable head start,” Lawler told CNN affiliate KIRO-TV in Seattle.

Adams took a bus from Lakewood to Federal Way, Washington, arriving there around 10:30 p.m. and asking about how to get to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, police said on Facebook. Lawler credited a tipster who’d seen media coverage of the escape with spurring authorities to check surveillance footage from there.

“That makes it very difficult to run, when the public is paying attention,” the police spokesman told reporters Thursday.

Considered not competent to stand trial

The two men had been at Western State Hospital since February 2015, but they’d been on authorities’ radar long before then.

Adams was arrested for second-degree assault/domestic violence in 2014 for choking someone, according to Lawler.

And the 28-year-old Garver — who sometimes uses the last name Burke — was wanted on several outstanding authorities in July 2013 when he was charged with murder in the killing of Phillipa S. Evans-Lopez, 20.

Detectives linked Garver to the woman’s death based on evidence from the scene and surveillance video footage showing the two of them together in the days before her death, according to the Snohomish County, Washington, Sheriff’s Office.

Lawler, the Lakewood police spokesman, said Garver has ties to Spokane. But it’s not known if went there, which is why authorities all around the have been cued in to the case.

He urged the public to be on alert but not to try to approach Garver.

“If you just look at the crime itself,” Lawler said of Evans-Lopez’s killing, “obviously, we don’t want someone who has done something like that free.”

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