Just when I think the world can't get any more ridiculous, the news proves me wrong. Who in their right mind thought it was a good idea to take "criminally insane" patients on a field trip to a local fair? And one who has escaped before. Don't people who kill, whether crazy or not, give up rights like this? I can see it now...Charles Manson will sue the state because he didn't get to go to Disneyland?
06:16 PM MDT on Friday, September 18, 2009
SPOKANE -- A patient from Eastern State Hospital, judged criminally insane, has been missing from Spokane County for a day, and now law enforcement across the U.S. is looking for him.
Spokane Co. Sheriff's Dept.
Friday, the Yakima County Sheriff's Department issued a nationwide felony arrest warrant for Phillip Paul, 47, allowing any jurisdiction to bring him into custody.
Around noon on Thursday, Paul, 47, walked away from Eastern State Hospital attendants while on a day trip to the Spokane County Interstate Fair.
Deputies say Paul is likely headed for his parents' house in Sunnyside, Washington -- the same town where he admitted to killing a woman in 1987 by stabbing and strangling her to death.
Paul was judged criminally insane following the crime and placed in Eastern State Hospital custody. However, during the last 22 years, Paul has been periodically released from Eastern State to live in the community, but ultimately those releases did not work out and Paul returned to the facility.
Spokane County authorities say Paul has been without medication for 30+ hours, but report his medication administered within the past two or three days should keep him stable for up to 14 days.
Still, authorities say Paul should be considered extremely dangerous. Deputies say if he is spotted, the best course of action is not to attempt to contact him, but rather call 911 immediately.
Paul is a white male, 5'8, 220 pounds, with brownish-gray hair, blue eyes, and a goatee. At the time of his escape, Paul was wearing a red windbreaker jacket, with a t-shirt and jeans.
Friday afternoon, Spokane County Sheriff's deputies plan to search for Paul by air, using the department's helicopter.
This is not Paul's first escape attempt. In 1991, Paul escaped Eastern State Hospital and was found near Fishtrap, Washington. During the arrest, Paul injured a deputy.
Since Thursday's escape, a number of groups have decried Eastern State Hospital authorities allowing Paul to visit the fair. Spokane County Commissioners, Washington's Department of Social and Health Services, and Eastern State's own line workers union have all issued statements.
According to a spokesperson for members of Local 782 of the Washington Federation of State Employees, Eastern State attendants at the fair "notified their chain of command within two to three minutes of discovering Paul's escape. [But] it was the administration in Medical Lake that waited some two hours to notify law enforcement authorities."
The Secretary of DSHS, Susan Dreyfus, has ordered an immediate review of the escape incident, as well as the policy allowing patients to take day trips.
There has been only one reliable sighting of Paul. Just after he was reported missing, a business owner on East Sprague reported that Paul walked into the facility, and asked for an employment application.
The Tennessee State Fair is going on now, and I can tell you for sure, I'm not going. If you find yourself on a Ferris Wheel and can't get off, remember, I warned you. :)