BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Police have captured the escaped prisoner who fled in the woods in Jessup near Clifton T. Perkins Hospital Center, where he was being transported by Wicomico County correctional officers on April 28.
David Watson, a 28-year-old serving a sentence of more than 100 years in Delaware for attempted murder, was found Wednesday night.
Howard County police say they captured Watson around 9:40 p.m., after finding him hiding in an 20-inch drainage pipe in a heavily wooded area less than a half mile away from where he escaped custody. He is in good condition, with only minor scrapes and injuries.
The pipe had been examined earlier in the day and confirmed empty, but officers with night vision equipment checked it again after dark.
Watson appeared in court Thursday where he lashed out saying “I’m not trying to go there. They try to cut my head off.”
Wednesday’s ground search began around 9:30 a.m. when someone spotted a man near the railroad tracks behind a building in the 8200 block of Dorsey Run Road. The caller reported that the man was wearing a white hard hat and a yellow or orange safety vest. The man ran when he was spotted.
Police responded to the area and located a number of workers who were ruled out as possible suspects. A short time later officers learned that a hard hat and safety vest had been stolen from a storage building about a mile away.
“We are aware of the storage building nearby that he had broken into,” said Howard County Police Chief Gary Gardner.
A full ground search resumed in the area, including helicopters, bloodhounds, K9 units, tactical teams, and law enforcement from Howard County Police, U.S. Marshals Service, Maryland State Police, Anne Arundel County Police, Howard County Sheriff’s Office, Natural Resources Police, and CSX Police.
Dorsey Run Road was closed from the area of Clifton T. Perkins Hospital to Patuxent Range Road.
Search teams have determined that Watson continued moving throughout the six days he was on the run. There are indications that he had traveled a distance of at least a mile in different directions, according to bloodhound trails on various days and the location of the break-in where a vest and hard hat were stolen.
Police say Watson ate food out of trashcans and drank water out of puddles.
“He had been moving back and forth, constantly, he did not bed down for long periods of time. He was moving back and forth,” Gardner said.
The U.S. Marshals Service had taken the lead on the case Monday and had offered a $10,000 reward for information leading to his capture. Police say the person who made the sighting and called it in is eligible for that reward.
Arrangements are being made making to transfer Watson back to Delaware now that he’s been found. He will be transferred in a maximum-security transport.
“With a 100-year sentence he clearly needed to be in jail,” one nearby resident said.
He is now charged with counts of first-degree escape from the Wicomico County Detention Center, first-degree and second-degree escape from Clifton T. Perkins and second-degree assault.
Investigators do not believe that Watson planned the escape in advance or received outside assistance.
Watson was found not competent to stand trial in Maryland.