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Man who was convicted of Pierce County crimes captured outside of state prison, authorities say

Washington state crimes by the numbers

The Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs 2017 Crime in Washington Annual Report details crimes against persons, property and society statistics from agencies that serve about 92% of the state.
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The Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs 2017 Crime in Washington Annual Report details crimes against persons, property and society statistics from agencies that serve about 92% of the state.

Authorities on Tuesday captured an inmate convicted of crimes in Pierce County who escaped from the Olympic Corrections Center.

Mark D. Vannausdle, 60, was apprehended “safely and without incident” at about 7:37 a.m., less than two miles from the minimum-security state prison in Forks.

Joel Bruch, an employee of Bruch & Bruch Construction, spotted Vannausdle along a road about 1.5 miles from the Olympic Corrections Center in Forks. He found a member of the prison’s Inmate Recovery Team, William Flores; and drove him in his truck back to where he had seen Vannausdle. Flores gave chase and apprehended the inmate, said Department of Corrections spokeswoman Janelle Guthrie.

Vannausdle escaped at about 7 a.m. on Sunday while en route from his living unit to the dining facility for breakfast, according to DOC. The living quarters and dining facility have separate fences around them but there is no fence around the entire perimeter.

After his capture, Vannausdle received a medical assessment, was questioned in the ongoing investigation, and transported to Clallam Bay Corrections Center, where he will undergo further questioning, Guthrie said. That prison is a medium, close, and maximum-security prison, according to DOC’s website. Close custody is a restrictive level of supervision for inmates whose offense or conduct indicates that they represent a potential for violence or escape.

The Olympic Corrections Center deployed its Inmate Recovery Team and others from the Stafford Creek, Clallam Bay, and Cedar Creek corrections centers assisted, along with the Jefferson County Sheriff Department, Forks Police Department and the State Patrol.

Vannausdle was convicted of assault and robbery with firearm enhancements in Pierce County. He began serving a 20-year sentence on Sept. 10, 2002. His release date had been tentatively set for Jan. 1, 2021. Vannausdle had been an inmate at the Olympic Corrections Center since June 12, 2017.

Guthrie said the Department of Corrections will hold an infraction hearing and if found guilty, Vannausdle’s release date would be delayed.

Chris Ashcraft, a deputy prosecutor with the Jefferson County Prosecutor’s office, said he expects Vannausdle will face a felony charge of escape, maybe as soon as Wednesday. A conviction can add up to five more years to Vannausdle’s sentence.

While incarcerated at McNeil Island Corrections Center, prison employees found a ladder that appeared to be made from boot laces and wood in a folder during a routine search. Vannausdle did not attempt to escape, Guthrie said. In 2004, he was charged in Pierce County, pleaded guilty to attempted escape in the first degree, and sentenced to nine more months in prison.

The Olympic Corrections Center, which opened in 1968, houses about 380 male inmates. Commonly referred to as a camp or work camp, it is a facility where during the last four years of their sentence, inmates classified as “low risk” are eligible to work in the community under supervision, Guthrie said.

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