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WA prisoner escapes minimum security facility north of Seattle

A close up photo of Patrick Lester Clay. He is a bald Black man, with some gray in his facial hair, which includes a mustache and short beard.
Provided photo
Department of Corrections
Patrick Lester Clay escaped from Monroe Corrections Center early Friday, April 26, 2024.

Washington officials and law enforcement are still looking for a man who escaped a minimum security prison north of Seattle last week.

The Department of Corrections said Patrick Lester Clay, 59, escaped the Monroe Correctional Complex around 7:40 a.m. Friday by breaking into a staff office and stealing car keys.

On Monday, officials found the white truck he had been driving abandoned in the Central District in Seattle.

Officials have warned the public not to approach Clay, if seen – instead officials recommend calling 911 or the Monroe Correctional Complex.

Clay is serving time for burglary, harassment and theft charges in King County, and was scheduled to be released at the end of 2025.

The last time a prisoner escaped from a Department of Corrections facility was in 2022 after a prisoner climbed over a fence at Coyote Ridge Correction Center in Southeastern Washington.

Last year, several children at the Echo Glen juvenile detention facility near Snoqualmie escaped or attempted to. But that facility is overseen by the state’s Department of Youth and Families and not the Department of Corrections.

This story was updated 4/29 at 11:00 a.m.

Jeanie Lindsay is a radio reporter based in Olympia who covers the Washington state government beat for the Northwest News Network, the Pacific Northwest's regional collaboration of NPR stations.