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November 8, 2012 at 5:50 AM

UPDATE: Inmate escapes from prison at Monroe

A prison inmate with three months left to serve on his sentence escaped from the minimum security unit at the Monroe Correctional Complex last night. This photo shows the unit that held the inmate before he fled. (Photo by Mike Siegel / The Seattle Times)

UPDATE:  10 a.m. | State Department of Corrections staff are still searching for an inmate who escaped from a minimum security unit at the Monroe Correctional Complex on Wednesday night.

Brandon Musto, 37, had three months left to serve on his sentence when he escaped from the Snohomish County prison, corrections officials said. Prison staff reported Musto missing after the 9 p.m. head count.

Musto apparently went over a 10-foot-tall chain-link fence topped with razor wire, said Department of Corrections spokesman Chad Lewis.

The investigation into exactly how he escaped — and whether he had help from anyone inside or outside the prison — is secondary to the effort to recapture him at this point, Lewis said.

“We have leads and we’re out there looking for him. We have multiple leads on where he might be, we have ideas of where we think he is,” Lewis said.

This morning, the Grays Harbor County Sheriff’s Department said they arrested a 59-year-old man believed to have helped Musto escape. The McCleary man was arrested for investigation of rendering criminal assistance. The sheriff’s department did not release any additional details on the man’s alleged role in the escape.

Lewis said corrections officials have concluded this was a planned escape, but declined to say more because they fear Musto, or his friends, are paying close attention to the news media.

“There’s a good chance he or a buddy are watching the news … it’s all very cat and mouse. We don’t want him to know what we know,” Lewis said.

Anyone with information on his location is asked to call 911.

Brandon Musto

Musto began serving time in September 2011 for a vehicular assault conviction in Thurston County and was scheduled for release in February 2013.

Why would a short-timer risk several more years in prison that could come with an escape conviction?

“That might be the first question we ask him,” Lewis said.

Only offenders who are within four years of release are kept in the minimum security unit.

“You have a foot out the door, there’s little incentive,” to escape, Lewis said.

Minimum security is one of five units at the prison complex at Monroe, 24 miles northeast of Seattle. It holds about 460 of the 2,500 offenders in the state’s second-largest prison.

Musto is a white man, 5-foot-8, 180 pounds with brown eyes and dark hair. He has tattoos on his right arm and left wrist.

Comments | More in The Blotter | Topics: escape, inmate, Monroe Correctional Complex


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