A patient accused of torturing a woman to death and who later escaped from a troubled Washington state psychiatric hospital also had a fascination with the Islamic State group and planned to blow up a state building, newly released documents revealed.
Detectives who investigated Anthony Garver’s escape from Western State Hospital south of Tacoma in April also found that he previously had threatened to kill a federal judge and had been caught with bomb-making materials.
Despite an extensive criminal history and a pattern of evading authorities, Garver lived in a ground-floor room at the hospital, where he spent five months loosening his window frame before escaping through it April 6 with another violent patient.
It took almost two hours for hospital officials to report the escape to Lakewood police — a delay that concerned officers and detectives working the case, according to police reports acquired by The Associated Press.
Garver’s head start allowed him to hop a bus across the state to Spokane, where he used self-described survivalist skills to hide from authorities for two days. He was caught hiding in the woods near his mother’s home — the same area where he was found with dozens of rounds of assault-rifle ammunition in 2006.
The other patient was found in a nearby city the next day.
Garver, 28, was released last week from a federal detention center, where he was undergoing a mental-competency evaluation, the Bureau of Prisons website said. It was not clear where he was now, but a federal hearing on his evaluation is set for Aug. 11 in Spokane.
After his escape, police discovered that Garver was a serious public-safety threat.
“Garver was reported to be ‘very smart,’ and had tried to learn Arabic in the past, as he had a fascination” with the Islamic State group, Officer Ken Devaney wrote in a report. “He had disclosed wanting to live in the woods, and having a ‘survivalist’ nature.”
The federal government had a warrant for Garver “because of a charge for threatening to blow up a state building and threatening to kill a federal judge and prosecutor,” Devaney said. And during a previous arrest, Garver “had bomb making materials in his possession.”
The documents don’t reveal his targets but give more details about the escape. Garver’s psychologist, Dr. Mallory McBride, said Garver’s roommate knew about the plan.
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