Police: Eastern State Hospital 'walk-aways' not rare - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Police: Eastern State Hospital 'walk-aways' not rare

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MEDICAL LAKE, Wash. - Following the escape of schizophrenic killer Phillip Paul from the Spokane County Fair while under care of Eastern State Hospital employees, the Medical Lake police department reports that unauthorized absences by patients are not a rare occurrence.

The hospital and the department communicate by way of police radio and police monitor Eastern's frequency in the event their help is needed. Officers also receive a variety of calls from the hospital and say they respond to the hospital twice on month on average. Some of the more frequent calls are for 'walk-aways' and unauthorized leaves.

"They're very good about notifying us first and our police department will go up and usually try and help them," said Medical Lake City Administrator Doug Ross. "Usually what happens is they've [patients] gotten on a bus and get out of town as soon as they can, but on occasion we find them and we return them to Eastern State Hospital."

City officials say the hospital is known to use the trail system around the nearby lake and some picnic areas without reporting what types of patients are involved in those outings, much like the situation at the fair that led to Paul's escape.

The Escape and Capture of Phillip Paul

Paul ruled a threat before fair trip
Schizophrenic killer back at Eastern State
> Daughter of killer's victim: "Nobody is safe from this man"
> DSHS: serious questions must be answered
> Gov. Gregoire "gravely concerned" about killer's escape, DSHS policy under review

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