Federal agents are now leading the search for a prisoner who escaped the custody of prison guards while being transported to a psychiatric evaluation in Jessup on Friday morning.
David M. Watson, 28, went missing Friday morning just after he arrived at Clifton T. Perkins Hospital in Howard County. According to police, two Wicomico County Detention Center officers showed up at the hospital with Watson in the back of their transport van. When they opened the back door, their prisoner pushed one of them to the ground and fled into the nearby woods.
At the scene lay Watson’s handcuffs and a waist chain that had secured him in the van. Police also found a couple pieces of Watson’s clothing in the woods nearby.
Authorities made use of bloodhounds, K-9 units and helicopters with heat-seeking technology. It was a multi-agency effort, with Howard County and Anne Arundel County police, Maryland state troopers and the U.S. Marshals all searching the wooded areas around the hospital, which sits near the Howard-Anne Arundel County line. After about 36 hours, they suspended their ground search.
Reached by phone this morning, a spokeswoman for the Howard County Police Department said, “No updates yet this morning.”
Shortly afterward, the department said in a release that the U.S. Marshals have taken control of the investigation and have upped the reward for tips leading to his arrest from $5,000 to $10,000. Howard County police and state troopers will continue to assist with the search.
While the feds take the lead, Howard County police officers will visit Jessup-area businesses and hand out flyers on Monday. Merchants will be asked to check their properties, vehicles and surveillance footage to see if Watson may have broken in or been nearby, police said.
Some noteworthy facts about Watson: He’s serving a 106-year sentence on an attempted murder conviction in Delaware for shooting at a cop’s house in 2012, and has been charged with similar offenses in Wicomico County in Maryland; he has the words “evil” and “sin” tattooed on his neck and hand, as well as face tattoos and others on his body; and he’s white, standing about 5’8” tall and weighing around 140 pounds. Also, according to pictures, he sometimes wears glasses.
Here’s another shot of him:
Escaped prisoner David Watson has been known to wear glasses, as in this undated photo. Anyone who spots him should call 911, reward $5,000 pic.twitter.com/4a5UucFjqE
— Howard County Police (@HCPDNews) April 29, 2017
If Watson is armed, it’s not with one of the correctional officers’ weapons. Police say they confirmed both CO’s had the guns stashed away in lockboxes when he escaped.
Watson has ties to Wicomico County and Delaware, police said.
If you spot him or have info, police say to call 911.
This story has been updated.
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