MONROE, Wash. - The Department of Corrections and local law enforcement agencies are searching for an inmate who escaped from a minimum security unit at Monroe Correctional Complex Wednesday night and may be in Grays Harbor County.
The staff at the complex noticed Brandon Musto, 37, was missing during an offender count at 9 p.m. Once they determined that Musto had escaped, they immediately notified law enforcement, including the Monroe Police Department, and sent out a search team.
Head counts are done four times in 24 hours along with random counts. The Grays Harbor County Sheriff's Office said it is believed that Musto escaped the facility sometime between 5 p.m. and 10 p.m.
Efforts to locate Musto overnight were unsuccessful, but Thursday morning, a McCleary man was arrested on charges of rendering criminal assistance. Exclusive video from KIRO 7 Eyewitness News showed the man in the back of a Monroe police patrol car as it was leaving the jail.
The Grays Harbor County Sheriff's Office said the 59-year-old man may have assisted Musto in his escape from the area of the reformatory. The McCleary man's car has been impounded, and authorities believe Musto may be in Grays Harbor County.
Musto is described as white, 180 pounds with dark brown eyes and dark hair. He has tattoos on his right arm and left wrist.
Police notified staff at Monroe Public Schools and told them it was unlikely that Musto was still in the area but law enforcement teams were going to remain visible as a security measure.
District officials notified students' families and said school custodians completed a survey of each campus to ensure all was well before students arrived.
Musto began his prison sentence on Sept. 23, 2011, after he was convicted of vehicular assault in Thurston County. He was scheduled to complete his prison sentence on Feb. 14, 2013.
The DOC said Musto has been in prison before for a total of about 10 years, but they didn't have any information on what the charges were.
The minimum security unit is one of five living units that are part of the Monroe Correctional Complex. It’s surrounded by a 12-foot chain-link fence topped with a single strand of razor wire.
The unit houses about 460 minimum-custody offenders, all of whom are within four years of completing their prison sentence.
The total offender population at Monroe is about 2,500. It is the second largest prison in the state.