After five teenagers escaped from Echo Glen Children’s Center, a detention facility for incarcerated youth in Washington, one is still at large and all have been charged with robbery and kidnapping as of Friday, Feb. 4.
According to court documents, a group of teenagers surrounded a nurse who was dispensing medications on the morning of Jan. 26. The nurse reported being assaulted and threatened with a knife before being locked inside a room. The documents detail the teens allegedly assaulting two other Echo Glen staff while grabbing facility keys and eventually fleeing in a Ford Focus.
Three teenagers were arrested the following day and a fourth on Feb. 1, when the vehicle was also recovered. One remains at large nearly two weeks after the incident. According to a King5 news report, the teenagers face charges including kidnapping in the first degree, unlawful imprisonment and two counts of robbery, and the person accused of threatening a nurse with a knife and wounding another person during their escape is charged with second-degree assault. Two of them will be charged as adults, as they are 16 and 17 years old, the report said.
The Department of Children, Youth and Families, stated in a press release that it immediately put together a Critical Incident Response Team the day the escape occured to address risk and review the situation, including causes. The team was comprised of people who are not managers of the medium/maximum security facility in Snoqualmie, Washington. The review led to responsive actions that included: youth in maximum security must wear uniforms; increased security rounds; and improvement of on-campus notification processes.
A Feb. 3 DCYF press release stated that “reviews and administrative investigations are ongoing and will result in additional recommendations and policy and procedural changes.”
The Seattle Times quoted an anonymous employee at the facility as saying Echo Glen suffers from inadequate staffing and low pay — and that many employees feel unsafe there.
“One guy got stabbed not too long ago, another guy had this huge kid wrapped around his neck and was getting choked out,” the employee said. “So it’s not a secret to us: This is a dangerous place.”