An attempted murderer who escaped police custody last week spent five days surviving on food from trash cans and water from puddles before he was found hiding in a drainage pipe Wednesday night.
David M. Watson, who had been on the loose since April 28, was found lying inside a drainage pipe in a wooded area off of Dorsey Run Road about 9:40 p.m., police said.
Police believe Watson was moving constantly while on the run, walking no more than a mile and a half in several directions around the hospital. Watson told investigators he had been eating out of trash cans and drinking water out of puddles to survive.
He also used several drainage pipes in the area to rest, according to police.
The pipe he was found in, which is about 18 inches in diameter, was confirmed to be empty earlier in the day, but officers rechecked the area with night vision equipment after dark, police said.
When officers found Watson inside, he surrendered and was taken into custody in good condition, police said.
Earlier Wednesday morning, someone called 911 after spotting a man near the railroad tracks behind a building in the 8200 block of Dorsey Run Road, police said. The caller said the man was wearing a white hard hat and a safety vest. The man ran off when he was spotted.
Police responded to the area discovered a hard hat and safety vest had been stolen from a storage building about a mile away. They also found packing materials inside of a concrete drainage tunnel and believed Watson had been in the tunnel.
Watson, 28, was being transported to Clifton Perkins Hospital Center on April 28 for a psychiatric evaluation. When a guard opened the van in the hospital parking lot, Watson pushed the guard down and ran into nearby woods, police said. Authorities searched for Watson in the area surrounding the hospital, but they were unable to find him.
Police believe Watson managed to get out of his handcuffs and waist chain inside the van, Howard County Police spokeswoman Sherry Llewellyn said Friday. Both were found outside the van, according to police.
His leg shackles were not found, but his sweatpants were found in tact, Llewellyn said. He would have had to free at least one of his legs from the shackles to remove the sweatpants without ripping them.
Police do not know whether Watson had planned the escape or had any help.
Watson is currently serving a sentence in Delaware for attempted murder for shooting a police officer's Laurel-area home. He is also charged with attempted murder on the Eastern Shore, where authorities say he shot at two officers' homes.