Erica Jones

Ground Search Suspended for Escaped Prisoner in Howard County

Howard County police are suspending a ground search for a prisoner convicted of attempted murder that escaped from a hospital on Friday.

David M. Watson, 28, was being transported to Clifton Perkins Hospital Center for a psychiatric evaluation related to an attempted murder case in Maryland. 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 from Friday through Saturday morning using bloodhounds, K-9 units and helicopters with heat-seeking technology, police said.

"There are no indications that Watson remains in the area, and there have been no sightings," the police department said on Facebook.

The investigation remains active as officers from Howard County, U.S. Marshals Service and Maryland State Police continue to follow up on leads in the area, and in Wicomico County, Maryland, and Delaware, where Watson also has ties, police said.

Police believe Watson managed to get out of his handcuffs and waist chain inside the van, Howard County Police spokeswoman Sherry Llewellyn said Friday. It's unclear whether his legs were shackled.

Police do not know whether he planned the escape or had any help.

Authorities are searching for a prison inmate who escaped while being transported to a state mental hospital in Jessup, Maryland. David Watson, 28, is serving a sentence of more than 100 years for crimes including attempted murder. News4's Chris Gordon reports.

Watson was last seen in the area of Dorsey Run Road and Patuxent Range Road in Jessup. Some of his clothing was found in the woods, and a K-9 was able to pick up the direction in which he fled.

The hospital is located in an industrial area, and police searched many nearby buildings.

Watson is serving more than 100 years in Delaware for attempted murder. He also faces charges of attempted murder of police officers in Wicomico County. The Wicomico County Sheriff's Office picked him up in Delaware to take him to the hospital. 

Watson is 5 feet 8 inches tall, weighs 140 pounds and was wearing all white clothing.

On Saturday, police said Watson has been known to wear glasses and released an updated photo of him. He also has several tattoos.

Howard County police are offering a reward of up to $5,000 to for information on Watson's whereabouts. Anyone who see a man matching Watson's description should call 911.

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