September 19, 2009 in City

Inmate-tracking team helping search for Paul

By The Spokesman-Review
Jeff Ferguson photo

Phillip A. Paul poses for a portrait in downtown Spokane in 2008, when he was living at The Carlyle.
(Full-size photo)

An Inmate Recovery Team from the Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla has joined the search for Eastern State Hospital patient Phillip A. Paul, who has been missing since he walked away Thursday from a group attending the Spokane County Fair.

Sheriff’s Department spokesman Sgt. Dave Reagan said the penitentiary offered the team’s assistance Friday. Members were briefed Saturday morning, and started “doing what they do best,” he said.

Reagan said Paul, who has been in and out of treatment since killing a Yakima woman in 1987, may have planned his escape.

Paul left little clothing behind in his hospital room, and was carrying a backpack during the field trip, an annual event Paul could easily have anticipated.

“It’s reasonable to assume he has changed his appearance” given the changes in clothes Paul was carrying, Reagan said.

Although he said Paul had probably left the county, Reagan added that deputies are finding Paul had several Spokane contacts. There is a possibility Paul could be hunkered down somewhere, he said.

The department is receiving six to 12 calls an hour reporting sightings, but few timely enough to be of use, Reagan said.

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