SNOQUALMIE, Wash. - As three escapees await additional legal action for escaping the Echo Glen facility for juveniles over the weekend, FOX 13 News is learning more about what initially landed the teens in custody.
According to court documents, two of the teens involved were being held for murder—that includes a 16-year-old who was tied to two separate deadly shootings in Renton last year.
A spokesperson from the Washington State Department of Children, Youth & Families (DCYF), which runs the facility, told FOX 13 that they "do not discuss sentences of youth who are serving at our facility out of respect for privacy."
DCYF told FOX 13 that the teens never managed to make it off the property. One teen was captured within minutes of their escape, while a second was found within 90 minutes. The third teen was found behind a sewage plant on the property a little more than 2-and-a-half hours after the escape.
Sen. Mark Mullet, who represents the area where the facility is located, told FOX 13 that he fought for $8 million in funding for a perimeter security fence during the last budget. That work, however, can’t break ground yet.
"We still have 12 months where it’s not going to be secure before the fence is completed," said Mullet. "So, we need to make sure we’re diligent in every way to make sure it doesn’t happen again."
Mullet admitted he was shocked to learn the facility didn’t even have a fence, given it’s considered a medium-maximum security facility.
As he explained, the lack of a perimeter adds stress to staff that are tasked with ushering students to-and-from various classes. He noted they want the students to have some level of freedom, but also the surrounding community needs to feel safe.
"I think people’s anxiety about how these kids get out is all legitimate," said Mullet.
DCYF has been under the microscope for some time. A number of highly-publicized escapes made waves, including one that involved a staff member getting assaulted, and a car being stolen by the juveniles who managed to stay on the run much longer, before ultimately being apprehended.
PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Echo Glen escapees back in custody
According to a spokesperson, they’ve taken steps to fix what he called "security vulnerabilities" following past escapes. That includes removing vehicles from the facility’s campus, an additional 30 staff members and extra training.
The security fence that is expected to cost $8 million isn’t expected to be completed until July 2025.
As for the teens, the King County Attorney’s office told FOX 13 that charges must be filed by Wednesday afternoon, meaning the teens will likely be back in front of a judge this week.