Everyone likes field trips, even legally committed criminally insane murderers. So imagine this scenario…a criminally insane killer is allowed into the community for a field trip to a local county fair, and escapes. Although this sounds like a good plot for a science fiction or horror movie it is indeed a true story.
Last week Phillip Paul who has been committed at the Eastern State Hospital in Washington State for admitting to the murder of Ruth Motley a community activist in 1987. At the time Paul believed Motley was a witch due to the voices in his head telling him this information. In the end Paul strangled Motley, then cut her throat and finally burned a deer carcass as a sacrifice.
So what possessed the staff to allow this man to go on a daytrip? Secondly, why was the fact that Phillip Paul packed a backpack full of clothes, not a HUGE red flag for staff that the man was planning on eloping? This fact alone should have alerted staff to the fact he was possibly planning to run.
Also, Paul had escaped previously from the hospital back in 1991. He also assaulted a police officer before he was recaptured. Interestingly the officer he assaulted in 1991 who helped capture Paul at the time was one of the same officers who captured him this time.
What right does anyone have to fail to report a criminally insane murderer missing? Supposedly the staff on the outing failed to report Paul missing for several hours. The good news is that Paul is back in legal custody after being found 250 miles away from where he eloped. He had been hitchhiking. Glad I do not pick up hitchhikers! And not surprisingly the hospital is reviewing its policy of which patients get to go on community outings!