Escaped prisoner found hiding in 18-inch drainage pipe

Posted at 8:44 AM, May 04, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-04 12:24:05-04

Authorities said they found a prisoner who escaped from the grounds of a Maryland psychiatric hospital.

Howard County police said in a statement that 28-year-old David Watson was found hiding in an 18-inch drainage pipe in a wooded area off of Dorsey Run Road in Jessup Wednesday night.

Police said a local employee called 911 around 9:30 a.m. Wednesday after spotting a man near the railroad tracks behind a building in the 8200 block of Dorsey Run Road. The caller reported seeing the man wearing a white hard hat and safety vest and ran when he was spotted.

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Police said they're in contact with the caller, who will be eligible for a reward.

Authorities from multiple jurisdictions searched the area. Around 9:40 p.m., officers rechecked the area, including a small drainage pipe measuring 18-20 inches wide, located just a few hundred yards from where he was spotted that morning.

Although the pipe had been confirmed empty earlier in the day, according to police, officers with night vision equipment rechecked the area after dark and found Watson lying inside, attempting to hide.

Police said he was taken into custody in good condition and suffered minor scrapes and injuries while in the woods.

Watson was arrested and charged with escape and assault. He is currently serving a sentence in Delaware of more than 100 years for attempted murder for shooting an officer's home. Watson didn't plan the escape in advance or receive outside assistance, investigators believe.

The search began Friday, when officials said Watson freed himself and escaped from the Clifton T. Perkins Hospital Center parking lot. Search teams determined he continued moving throughout the six days he was on the run.

There are indications that he traveled at least a mile in different directions.

A bail review hearing scheduled Thursday morning will be continued until Friday, May 12. The judge ordered a competency hearing and had Watson sent back to Perkins Hospital for an inpatient hearing. Watson had previously been found incompetent to stand trial. 

During the hearing, Watson said "They're trying to hurt me there. They're trying to cut my head off."

Watch the Howard County Police press conference:

The Associated Press contributed to this report.