Police capture teen offenders after escape from Echo Glen Children’s Center

September 23, 2012

By Warren Kagarise

NEW — 2:15 p.m. Sept. 23, 2012

Police captured six teenage offenders early Sunday morning after the boys assaulted a guard and escaped from the Echo Glen Children’s Center, a juvenile detention facility in Snoqualmie.

The boys, ages 14 and 15, assaulted a female staff member and knocked her unconscious at about 11:30 p.m. Saturday. The boys then stole her keys and radio, locked her in a room and fled from the medium/maximum security facility.

Echo Glen is not fenced and is surrounded by forest and wetlands.

(Though the facility is administered by the state Department of Social and Health Services, Echo Glen is in the Issaquah School District.)

Other juvenile inmates at the facility discovered the unconscious staff member and reported the incident.

Officers from the King County Sheriff’s Office, Washington State Patrol and Snoqualmie Police Department responded to the facility at 33010 S.E. 99th St. to search for the escaped boys. Overhead, Guardian One — the sheriff’s office helicopter — assisted in the search.

Deputies aboard the helicopter located the boys, but the group split up and fled in different directions. Guardian One then directed police on the ground and police dogs to the escapees.

Several boys sustained dog bites during the arrest; authorities transported one escapee to Seattle’s Harborview Medical Center for treatment.

Police booked the boys into the King County Youth Services Center on charges of second-degree assault, unlawful imprisonment and escape.

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7 Responses to “Police capture teen offenders after escape from Echo Glen Children’s Center”

  1. SkyyAlexander on September 24th, 2012 9:15 am

    I live directly behind Echo Glen (on the Preston side) and I must say that over the years we have had many a night where we are awaken to the sound of the Guardian helo’s and seeing very bright spotlights in our yard and surrounding woods. If Echo Glen is in fact considered a “medium/maximum security facility”, wouldn’t it be reasonable to say that there should be more containment protocols in place for instances such as this? Quoting the story, “Echo Glen is not fenced and is surrounded by forest and wetlands”. I think the problem lies within that statement. “Echo Glen is not fenced”. Not Fenced? Are you f’ing kidding me? This is a “medium/maximum security facility” with youths detained for a multitude of violent and non-violent crimes. A fence… Sounds like a great solution if you ask me. One that should not cost the tax-payers much, and would do a hell of a lot better containing criminals, no matter the age, than a “medium/maximum secutiry facility” that seems to follow some kind of sick honour system. Remember people, children or not, these kids are criminals. Some just as violent as the adults that have been incarcerated. You wouldn’t want to live next to a non-youth facility that isn’t fenced. Why would you want to live near a youth facility that isn’t? I doubt the communities of Preston and Snoqualmie Ridge would like it. Oh wait… We don’t.

  2. Tracie Wright on September 24th, 2012 1:05 pm

    I agree with SkyyAlexander! There should be a fence! These children were put here for a reason, they are not safe to be out in the general public. If they were then they would be with their families or in foster care.

  3. Aaron Williams on September 26th, 2012 11:42 am

    I’m a former counselor of the Echo Glen facility that spent a number of years working with the youth there. Across WA there are a limited number of juvenile institutions (at one point there were 5 that housed the type of residents at EGCC – there are now only 3). When these facilities were constructed their locations were chosen due to their remote setting – in the middle of dense woods and wetlands away from any population centers, such as in the case of Echo Glen. The natural barriers and relative isolation served as the fences and obstacles to contain escapes. Attempted escapes from the institution are rare. Successful escapes are nearly non-existent.

    Echo Glen is acres of land in the middle of a wetlands surrounded by forests. In the past 2 years two of the five institutions built to house juvenile offenders of this type were closed due to lack of funding. Across the state, workers employed to monitor and treat offenders at places like EGCC have been laid off, had hours dramatically cut and been placed on forced furloughs because there simply is no money in the budget to support these services. The cost to erect a security fences around the entire institution, maintain it in that sort of environment and staff it would be incredible. The state can’t afford to hire additional staff – do you truly believe the cost of building a security fence to combat a problem that seldom occurs is going to happen?

    Remember that EGCC has been where it is, without a fence, for decades. Long before most of the homes and residents in the area settled in. Perhaps the members of the surrounding communities should raise the funds to erect a fence if they feel threatened since it’s they who live near a juvenile prison in a state closing these sort of institutions due to no funds.

  4. Alittleconcerned on September 29th, 2012 4:01 am

    I am in total agreement with SkyyAlexander with the fact that although these are youths WHY isn’t there a more secure facility for our youths who manage to commit adult crimes. We can try to rationalize why these measures are not meant such as no funding or that these rehabilitation centers were built in remote areas hence the reason for proper security measures are not met this was in all purposes erected for such crimes committed by youths that qualifies to be named minimum / maximum security yet it sounds more like a youth pcamp that houses youths on weekend retreats. We as a society must change as proven by time all things do not remain the same its clear that our youths are more eager to take on the role as adults by acting and committing adult crimes they are no less likely to show mercy on another in the event that they feel threaten it trapped , then WHY are they the youths who are labeled accused or convicted with adult like behavior allowed to be treated any other way the threat is there and in some cases are greater than those imposed by an actual adult. There is no room to place blame or make excuses but find a solution for the safety of all the staff other inmates and the surrounding community because although the escapes have or have not been successful as of to date person/ person have been injured and when will this matter really be looked at with the same priority as our adult facilities so the safety rather in or out the facility is the foremost important issue at hand so I guess what really needs to happen is not look to see if protocol needs to be looked at or even question a possibility of change but to know there has to be a change. The unfortunate event leaving an employee injured and an inmate injured is proof that the system in place has failed or should we look for the headlines to read a DEATH has taken place before this handled. I should hope the question is hard to answer but more importantly that we don’t solely rely on our wetland to secure the what the courts and department of children services deem necessary to incarcerate our youths.

  5. SkyyAlexander on October 5th, 2012 9:07 am

    Aaron Williams. I hear you. I am not in disagreement that homes on the Snoqualmie Ridge sites were build AFTER the Echo Glen facility was operating for decades. However, I do not live on Snoqualmie Ridge. I live in Preston. A MUCH, MUCH older city with MUCH older, established neighborhoods. Neighborhoods that were in existence LONG before Echo Glen was even a thought. Now to argue safety with a resident of a neighborhood LITERALLY less than half a mile away from Echo Glen’s borders is redundant. You may have worked there, yes. However, that is still considered a “controlled environment”. When you are waking up at “oh-god-thirty” in the middle of the night to spotlights in your yard, phone calls from the King County Sheriff’s Dept. stating that there is a dangerous fugitive holed up in your neighborhood and that you should lock all your doors and windows and not go outside, THEN you can explain security risks, and chances of escapees to me, my neighbors, their families and the rest of the Preston/Snoqualmie Ridge communities. I appreciate your statistics, however you do not live where I live. In a rural community such as ours, protecting yourself and your family is already a concern. I don’t have hundreds of neighbors to call the police if I, or any of my family cannot. I don’t need my garage being searched, my car’s opened and checked, or my community to be the victim of poor planning and execution. Echo Glen is truly a fine facility. I admire what you and many others do to try and rehabilitate and continue the lives of these children. I just don’t think that you should be stating that the neighbors to Echo Glen, of all people, should be responsible for a security measure to help an obviously failing system.

  6. SkyyAlexander on October 5th, 2012 9:11 am

    Oh, BTW. After some careful thought… WE the neighbors and the residents of King County WILL be paying for the fence (If in fact one should be built). It’s OUR tax dollars that support the projects of this county and OUR tax dollars that pay your salaries. Remember that.

  7. Anonymous on December 28th, 2012 5:17 am

    first of all i was a resident at echo glen i was there for three years of my teenage life and there were zero escape attempts first of all the bordering forests are three miles thick all way around some spots are almost four and second green hill a much larger fenced facility has had less escape attempts but more succeeded escape only one time since echo glens been open has youth actually made it outside the forest. they were detained almost immediately following so i think the forests are most secure than a fence so stop wining and if your that concerned move

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