Manhunt ends with suspect caught in a tree stripped down to his underwear

By: Ranji Sinha

Updated:

MOUNT VERNON, Wash. - A deputy with the Skagit County Sheriff’s Office says a dangerous man wanted for dozens of felony charges is behind bars. 

Skagit County Deputies spotted 26-year-old Curtis Cameron Monday afternoon. Their effort to arrest him sparked a five-hour manhunt that forced parts of Mount Vernon to go on lockdown.

Deputies say Cameron is skilled at evading arrest. When police caught up with the suspect along the Nookachamps Creek near Mount Vernon, on Monday, they found Cameron nearly naked clinging to a tree.

Authorities in Skagit County say the manhunt began somewhere along Francis Road in Mount Vernon where Cameron was riding in a vehicle that was spotted by a police cruiser. The sergeant  tried to pull the car over, but Cameron took off on foot and ran for about three to five miles through rivers and streams Chief Deputy Chad Clark said.

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“No shoes on, no socks, no pants, no shirt. He's a very dedicated person to get away,” Clark said. 

Clark said Cameron has previously run from police. Authorities say he's avoided them on foot before. This time, police were afraid he had weapons.

Chopper 7  spotted law enforcement on a boat with guns drawn. There were also several armored vehicles brought in to aid the search. 

Several law enforcement agencies descended on the 21000 block of Swan Road near Mount Vernon where they tracked Cameron. Clark said Cameron was wanted on more than 40 felony charges. 

“It feels good because now we don't have to chase him anymore,” Clark said. 

Some members of the community watched as police hunted for Cameron, and wanted to help. That included Robin Brigge who offered up his self-made rock crawler to police for the search. “I got two of them so they can use them if they need them. That's what it's here for help out the community,” Brigge said. 

Skagit County Sheriff's Office officials suspected Cameron stole weapons during a burglary Monday morning. That suspicion is why they considered him dangerous, and also why schools and businesses went into lockdown while he was loose. 

Susan Hibma, who lives right near the police roadblock, said she dealt with a lockdown at work and then came home to the search effort outside her front door. 

“They just said 'active shooter, shelter in place.' … I didn't want to come home until my husband came home, but he's on his way now and since the police are all here I figure it's safe,” Hibma said.

Clark said authorities caught Cameron at about 6:30 p.m. when he climbed to the top of a tree while nearly naked. “Every time we've found him, he would run. He'd run in a car, he'd run on foot and he's very difficult to find,” Clark said.

Clark said Cameron was taken into custody without incident. Clark also said Cameron did not appear to be injured, and no officers were injured during the search. The driver who was ferrying Cameron through Mount Vernon earlier Monday was also taken into custody. 

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