BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Police are now offering up to a $5,000 reward for information on the whereabouts of a male prisoner who escaped while being transported to a Jessup hospital, according to Howard County Police.
Police are now searching for David M. Watson, 28, who fled into a wooded area near the Clifton T. Perkins mental hospital while being transported by the Wicomico County Detention Center.
Police say around 9:46 a.m. Friday, as a van arrived at the hospital with two guards on board, Watson pushed one of the guards after he opened the door and ran into the woods.
The guards on the van were armed but their weapons were secured in lock boxes.
Police say they found handcuffs and a waist chain at the scene, but can’t confirm if Watson was wearing leg shackles.
Police have also released images of Watson’s tattoos to help identify him.
By midday, the manhunt intensified with a search of nearby railroads.
On witness tells WJZ they had seen Watson.
“I seen the guy. I just thought he was working over there at first.”
Some in a nearby neighborhood are alarmed by the length of time that has passed since Watson’s escape.
“How can one knock somebody out and get out?” says one area resident. She tells WJZ she’s taking no chances.
“Well my doors will be locked tonight. I got a dead bolt, and my dogs will let me know if anyone is around, I got a baseball bat,” she says.
Watson is serving time of more than 100 years in Delaware on attempted murder and related charges. Watson is also facing charges in Wicomico County for attempted murder.
Police say he was transported from Delaware to Wicomico County Detention Center Thursday in preparation for his evaluation at Clifton T. Perkins Hospital Friday, which was court ordered.
He is described as a white, 5-foot-8 man weighing around 140 pounds.
He was last seen in the area of Dorsey Run Road and Patuxent Range Road in a white jumpsuit, although authorities believe he may have ditched it.
Howard County Police are continuing to conduct a search of the area with patrol officers, K9 units, and a police helicopter.
Police don’t believe the suspect is armed and don’t know if Watson had planned this escaped in advance or acted on impulse.
Anyone who sees a suspicious subject matching Watson’s description should call 911.
This story will be updated as more details become available.