Manhunt continues for Monroe escapee

November 9, 2012

By Staff

Updated: November 9, 2012 at 10:44 AM

Posted by The Seattle Times reporter

Police and state Department of Corrections officers spent the morning Nov. 9 unsuccessfully searching a section of woods just outside North Bend for Brandon Musto, who escaped from the Monroe Correctional Complex on Wednesday night.

Monroe police spokeswoman Debbie Willis said that police, State Patrol troopers, the U.S. Marshals Service, Department of Corrections staff and the King County Sheriff’s Office did not find Musto. Investigators believe Musto fled from North Bend this morning, though it’s unclear how Musto managed to slip away.

“I believe [he fled] some time after we got up there; we got up there 8 a.m.,” Willis said. “We’re regrouping to continue the investigation to see where it next leads us.”

Musto, 37, had just three months left on his sentence for vehicular assault and theft when authorities say he scaled a 10-foot chain-link fence at the prison and hopped into a friend’s car.

Prison staff noticed Musto was missing from the minimum-security unit during Wednesday’s nightly head count, sparking an unsuccessful manhunt that led them to Grays Harbor County. It was there that police on Thursday arrested a man believed to have driven Musto from the prison, said Debbie Willis.

Willis identified the alleged accomplice as Rupert Soriano, a friend of Musto’s. Soriano, 59, helped guide police to the area near North Bend on Friday morning, Willis said.

Investigators believe that Musto’s friend, who lives in Grays Harbor County, picked him up outside the prison and drove him to North Bend, Willis said.

Willis said that other tipsters led police to the wooded area near Interstate 90 mile post 38, outside North Bend, though she wouldn’t specify who they were.

Soriano was arrested by the Grays Harbor County Sheriff’s Department for investigation of rendering criminal assistance, she said.

Department of Corrections (DOC) spokesman Chad Lewis said that Musto was set to be released from prison in February. Only offenders who are within four years of release are kept in the minimum-security unit.

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