Inmate escapes from prison at Monroe

MONROE — A Monroe Correctional Complex minimum-security inmate apparently cleared a 10-foot fence topped with razor wire and escaped Wednesday evening with the help of a getaway driver.

Brandon Musto, 37, was discovered missing during an offender count about 9 p.m. Wednesday, officials said.

A suspected accomplice in the escape was arrested Thursday morning in Grays Harbor County. Monroe police detectives traveled there Thursday and were waiting to interview the man.

Musto was finishing out a sentence for a vehicular assault conviction out of Thurston County, Department of Corrections spokesman Chad Lewis said. His release was set for mid-February.

It wasn’t immediately clear why Musto ran, Lewis said.

“We’ll do an investigation to determine if anyone inside or outside the prison assisted him, and they could face charges,” Lewis said. “The primary focus right now is on the search.”

Monroe police were investigating the escape alongside the corrections department, police spokeswoman Debbie Willis said.

Investigators don’t believe Musto would stay in the Monroe area, Willis said. The search swiftly focused on Grays Harbor County.

“We are following leads, and we are attempting to find the escapee as well as anyone who might have helped him,” Willis said.

The alleged accomplice, 59, of McCleary, was being held Thursday for investigation of rendering criminal assistance, according to police. His vehicle also was impounded. It wasn’t immediately clear if he was the suspected driver.

After the escape, police notified the Monroe School District, which increased supervision at local schools, district spokeswoman Rosemary O’Neil said. The district also posted a notice to its website.

“All of our school custodians who typically arrive first on campus did a sweep of or campuses just to ensure all was well,” she said Thursday. “All staff are on heightened awareness.”

Monroe prison operations and visitation hours were not affected Thursday, Lewis said.

Musto was assigned to the minimum security unit, which is outside the main prison walls on the north end of the correctional complex. The unit houses about 460 inmates, all of whom have less than four years left to serve. The Monroe complex houses about 2,500 offenders in all.

Musto is described as white, 5-foot-8 and 180 pounds. He has brown eyes and dark hair, and tattoos on his right arm and left wrist.

Anyone who sees him should call 911.

Rikki King: 425-339-3449; rking@heraldnet.com.

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