BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The search for a dangerous inmate who escaped police custody in Howard County is expanding, now adding federal authorities. It’s now been four days since 28-year-old David Watson escaped from authorities, and now a large reward is being offered.
There have been no sightings of Watson at this time, as authorities have used bloodhounds, K-9 units, teams of officers, and helicopters with heat-seeking technology to search for him.
The U.S. Marshals Service is now taking the lead on the case, and a reward being offered for information that leads to Watson’s capture is now up to $10,000, as authorities have had little to no trail to track his current whereabouts, which is a major concern for police, given Watson’s criminal past.
“This is someone who is a violent offender and has a history of attempted murder against law enforcement officers,” says Sherry Llewellyn with Howard County Police.
Watson is serving a sentence of more than 100 years in Delaware for attempted murder.
He escaped while being transferred from Wicomico County custody to a psychiatric hospital in Jessup. The prisoner able to break free from two guards before taking off into the woods.
“He was in handcuffs with a waist chain and leg shackles,” says Llewellyn.
Police later found some of his clothes and restraints, but no leg shackles
His escape raises plenty of questions, including: “How did Watson get out of his handcuffs? and “Did he have help?”
“At this point, we have had no indication that this was planned or that anyone was assisting him,” says Llewellyn.
Authorities are leaving no stone unturned and are now relying on businesses in the area near where Watson escaped for help with the investigation.
Police are handing out flyers and asking businesses to inspect their shops for any signs of a break-in.
“We have some cameras out here that cover all this lot, so we will take a look now. We made sure we checked all our back doors to make sure they were all locked up and no one could sneak in,” says local businessman Fran Fung with AFR Furniture Rental.
Pete Boettcher with Nave Communications did the same.
“Just looked in some of the obvious places made sure that nobody was in the building. That was our biggest concern,” he says.
Police say at one point K9s tracked Watson to a train track near the Anne Arundel county line but lost the trail.
Because of how fast the trains travel they say it would have been difficult for anyone to get on board.
“We searched trains that have gone through that area even though we learned that the trains were traveling over 50mph which would make it difficult for anyone to get on board,” says Llewellyn.
According to our media partner, The Baltimore Sun, officials with the Wicomico County Detention Center say the officers did follow the correct protocol while Watson was being transferred.
Anyone who sees Watson is told to call 911 immediately. Those with tips and information can contact the U.S. Marshals Service at (443) 885-0923 or CAR.FTF@Maryland.gov.