BOLO: Violent convict escapes prison van in Maryland, still on the loose

An inmate in prison for violent crimes including attempted murder escaped from the parking lot of a Maryland mental hospital Friday, reports ABC 6.

During a visit to the mental hospital for evaluation, David Watson, 28, reportedly broke free of his handcuffs and waist chain in a prison van. He was in the custody of two Wicomico County Detention Center guards, one of which he knocked to the ground while being taken out of the van. The chains and handcuffs were found lying near the van, said Howard County police spokeswoman Sherry Llewellyn Friday afternoon.

Watson was dressed in all white clothing when he escaped from the parking lot of the Clifton T. Perkins Hospital Center in Jessup. Witnesses saw Watson running into some woods Friday morning. It’s unclear if his escape was planned.

Watson is supposed to be serving a sentence of 106 years in Delaware, says Llewellyn. He is charged with attempted murder, along with other charges on Maryland’s Eastern Shore in connection with shootings of police officers’ homes in 2012.

“After exhausting all search efforts in the immediate area,” Howard County police suspended their search in the vicinity of the hospital Saturday afternoon, according to The Baltimore Sun. The search included officers, K-9 units, and helicopters with heat-seeking technology.

The report said that Howard County detectives, the U.S. Marshals Service and the Maryland State Police are working to follow leads locally. Howard County police say Watson may not be anywhere close to where they were searching.

“There are no indications that Watson remains in the area.”

The inmate was being taken to the mental hospital for an evaluation. In 2014, a Wicomico County Circuit Court judge ruled that Watson could not stand trial as he was not mentally competent to do so. Since then, he undergoes regular psychiatric evaluations.

Many citizens in the area are concerned for their safety. Becky Delagarza, 39, of Elkridge, said it was worrying that he is still on the run.

“For him not to be found for that many hours, it’s concerning.”

Several schools in the area when on modified lockdown after learning of the prisoner’s escape.

Watson is described as 5 feet 8 inches tall and 140 pounds. He was wearing all white when he escaped. A $5,000 reward has been offered for information on his whereabouts.

Check back with Crime Online for updates on this story while it continues to develop.

[Feature photo: Howard County Police Handout]