Murder suspect who escaped psychiatric hospital in Lakewood captured in Spokane

Murder Suspect Captured After Escaping Washington Psychiatric Hospital

SPOKANE, Wash. (KCPQ) -- Murder suspect Anthony Garver, 28, who escaped from Western State Hospital in Lakewood on Wednesday night, was captured in Spokane Friday night, authorities announced.

The State Patrol said the Spokane Police Department captured him at about 8:15 p.m. Friday and that no one was injured.

With the aid of K-9 trackers, Garver was found "hiding under a pile of debris" up in the woods and was taken into custody without incident, Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich said at a news conference. He was not armed.

But the sheriff said Garver was "severely dehydrated" and was receiving medical attention before being placed in the Spokane County Jail.

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Escaped mental patient Anthony Garver
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Murder suspect who escaped psychiatric hospital in Lakewood captured in Spokane
(Photo credit: KCPQ)
(Photo credit: KCPQ)

The sheriff said, "My hope is the Department of Corrections and the state of Washington will keep him under wraps this time so this dangerous criminal does not escape again. ... The last time he was out, he killed a young lady. That has weighed heavily on my mind.

Knezovich said, "This is a very dangerous individual. I knew he needed to be captured and captured quickly."

In a statement issued later, the Spokane County Sheriff's Office said: "Tonight, at approximately 8:15 p.m., Spokane County Sheriff's Office Deputies captured Anthony Garver in the 17600 block of East Judkins Road.

"This evening, Spokane County Sheriff's Deputy Jason Hunt, his partner K9 Gunnar and Sergeant Jack Rosenthal began a K9 track for wanted fugitive Anthony Garver in last night's search area. K9 Gunnar began a strong track which led to Garver who was found hiding underneath a debris pile. Garver was taken into custody without incident.

"Garver was dehydrated and provided medical attention at the scene. After being released, he was transported and booked into the Spokane County Jail on his fugitive warrant."

Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich added, "We stuck to our game plan and because of the outstanding work of Sergeant Jack Rosenthal, Deputy Hunt, and K9 Gunnar, a dangerous accused murderer was taken out of our community, thankfully without the loss of another human life."

The state Department of Social and Health Services, which oversees Western State Hospital, said, "We are relieved he has been found and thank law enforcement for all their tremendous work in capturing him. "

The capture was made on the second day of searching for Garver in the Spokane area, where police said he stopped by his parents' home in Spokane on Thursday and asked for his passport so he could flee to Morocco. His parents called police.

The sheriff's office said deputies launched a search in a wooded area of Spokane's East Valley with U.S. marshals, a SWAT team, four K-9s and two helicopters to try to find Garver, who was charged with torturing and stabbing to death a 20-year-old woman he met in Lake Stevens in 2013. Garver was found incompetent to stand trial for the murder and was committed to Western State Hospital. He had been there since February 2015.

Lakewood police investigators said Garver and fellow hospital patient 58-year-old Mark Adams escaped Western State Hospital together between 6 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Wednesday. Both had been housed in the locked civil ward and escaped through a window inside their room. Police caught Adams outside the Des Moines Gospel Church on Thursday morning; eyewitnesses said he didn't put up a fight. Adams had been accused of domestic violence.

But Garver remained on the loose. He was considered the more dangerous of the two men. He is accused of a gruesome murder. Prosecutors say he tied 20-year-old Phillipa Evans-Lopez to a bed three years ago in a home in Lake Stevens and stabbed her about two dozen times.

Lakewood Police said they discovered, based on surveillance video, that Garver boarded a Greyhound bus in Seattle using the fake name of John Anderson on Wednesday night and arrived in Spokane Thursday morning. Then he apparently went to his parents' home. Once police were alerted, a full-scale search was launched Thursday. But it was not until Friday night that authorities were able to locate him in the woods.

Meanwhile, it was learned that a patient walked away from Western State Hospital on Wednesday. But the Lakewood Police Department stressed that it is simply an unauthorized leave and not an escape.

Lakewood Police Lt. Chris Lawler said the person had ground privileges and failed to return, which, he added, is a somewhat common occurrence there. "It's not an escape," he emphasized.

DSHS said the patient was still missing as of Friday afternoon. Officials have not yet identified that person.

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