Prison escapee caught, had just 2 of 20 years left

Posted 8/15/19

A 60-year-old man from Port Angeles escaped from the Olympic Correctional Facility in Jefferson County around 7 a.m. on Aug. 11.

Inmate Mark D. Vannausdle is reported to be a white male, 60 years …

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Prison escapee caught, had just 2 of 20 years left

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The convict who escaped the Olympic Corrections Center in West Jefferson County, after having served nearly 17 years, has been caught and could have five years added to the roughly 16 months he had left on his sentence.

Janelle Guthrie, communications director of the Washington State Department of Corrections, reported that 60-year-old Mark David Vannausdle was apprehended “safely and without incident” at 7:37 a.m. on Aug. 13, less than two miles from the Olympic Corrections Center in Forks, and barely more than two days after his escape at at approximately 7:08 a.m. on Aug. 11, while en route from his living unit to the dining facility.

Guthrie credited the work done to apprehend Vannausdle by the Department of Corrections' Inmate Recovery Units and headquarters in partnership with the Olympic, Stafford Creek, Clallam Bay, and Cedar Creek corrections centers, as well as the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, the Forks Police Department and the Washington State Patrol.

Both Guthrie and prison spokesperson Darla DePew also named Port Angeles resident Joel Bruch, of Bruch and Bruch Construction Inc., in Port Angeles, who spotted Vannausdle while arriving at a worksite on Department of Natural Resources land, after the prison had notified all the local logging companies in the area about Vannausdle’s escape.

“Joel Bruch observed Vannausdle along a road roughly 1.5 miles from the Olympic Corrections Center, then located an Inmate Recovery Team member and transported him in his truck back to the location where he saw Vannausdle,” Guthrie said.

Vannausdle had served 18 years of a 20-year sentence in prison for assault in the first degree and robbery in the first degree for holding a taxi driver in Pierce County at gunpoint, according to Sheriff Joe Nole.

Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office assisted Olympic Correctional Facility in the search. Shortly after he was reported missing from his crew, Vannausdle was seen walking north on the Hoh Mainline wearing a yellow raincoat, tan pants, and a tan shirt.

Nole said Vannausdle was on a work detail with the correctional facility when he walked away.

For more reporting on this story, see next week's Leader.

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