Escaped Mental Patient, Anthony Garver, Accused of Torturing Woman to Death, Captured after Fleeing Washington Psychiatric Hospital

A young man accused of torturing a woman to death, escaped a Washington state psychiatric hospital on Wednesday night, April 6, 2016. According to KIRO 7 News, he was captured by authorities on Friday.

Anthony Garver, 28, escaped from Western State Hospital with another patient, Mark Alexander Adams, 58, by crawling out a window in a unit of the facility with lower security, according to ABC News. Adams, who KIRO 7 News notes was accused of domestic assault in 2014, was captured the next morning, while Garver remained at large.

By Thursday evening, authorities suspected Garver had purchased a bus ticket from Seattle to Spokane. They learned he had stopped at his parents’ home, thus law enforcement scoured a wooded area nearby using dogs, helicopters, and a SWAT team, ABC News reports.

Spokane County Sheriff Deputy Mark Gregory said Garver has hidden from law enforcement in the woods in the past, ABC News reports. According to KIRO 7 News, Garver was convicted of several crimes and twice ran from authorities by “stealing a car” or leading police on a “high-speed chase.”

KIRO 7 News indicates that in 2013, Garver was charged with killing a 20 year old woman. The report indicates Garver is accused of tying her to a bed using electrical cords, slashing her throat, and stabbing her 24 times in the chest. He did not stand trial for the crime, as he was found too mentally ill to do so, as well as being a danger to himself and others.

The woman Garver is accused of murdering, Phillipa Evans-Lopez of Snohomish County, was spotted on surveillance footage from a western Washington McDonald’s with Garver just days before her body was found, the Huffington Post reports. Authorities believe Evans-Lopez bought Garver breakfast at the fast food restaurant.

KIRO 7 News reports the murder charge against Garver was subsequently dismissed, which was why he was moved to a “less-secure unit at the psychiatric hospital…” and “placed under a civil commitment.”

Friday evening, Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich announced during a news conference that Garver had been located by a K-9 unit at around 8:15 p.m. and taken into custody, according to KHQ 6 News. The escaped mental patient was found hiding under a pile of debris near his parents’ home, which authorities had been watching. The sheriff noted that Garver was treated for dehydration prior to being transported to the Spokane County Jail.


Since the incident involving Garver and Adams, it was revealed that a third Western State Hospital patient was confirmed missing. KHQ 6 News reports that the patient left a civil ward on the morning of April 6, with a chaperoned group that was making a visit to a fashion center. The patient slipped away from the group and disappeared out an exit door, according to KHQ 6 News.

Although the patient’s whereabouts are unknown, Lieutenant Chris Lawler with Lakewood Police, said the patient had “ground privileges” and simply failed to return to the group, which is “somewhat common out there,” according to KHQ 6 News. Lawler added, “It’s not an escape.”

The missing patient was civilly committed to Western State Hospital after being charged with violating a no contact order and residential burglary, which were both dismissed after the patient was found incompetent to stand trial for the crimes, KHQ 6 News writes. Authorities indicate that this patient’s disappearance had nothing to do with the escape of Garver and Adams, and was a “separate event” altogether.

KIRO 7 News reports that Western State Hospital has faced federal scrutiny and threats of losing millions in funding after being cited for safety issues and “…failure to provide timely competency services to mentally ill people charged with crimes.”

[Photo by Lakewood Police Department via AP Image]