- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 28, 2011

The last of four D.C. youths who escaped from a private treatment facility in South Carolina on April 20 was arrested without incident Wednesday by task force members who spotted him outside a CVS in Laurel, authorities said.

The Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services said 19-year-old Delonte Parker was taken into custody by the Capital Area Regional Fugitive Task Force, which includes local agencies in Maryland and Virginia, the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department and the U.S. Marshals Service.

Members of the task force believed Parker was staying at a hotel in the Laurel area and spotted him near routes 1 and 198, U.S. Marshals spokesman Cole Barnhart said.

It was not immediately clear how Parker traveled from South Carolina to Laurel. A DYRS spokesman declined to say where Parker has been placed.

Parker and three other youths passed guards and hopped over a fence to escape from the Palmetto Summerville Behavioral Health Center, a 60-bed facility about 25 miles northwest of Charleston, S.C., that houses adolescent males with sexually aggressive behaviors, substance abuse problems and psychiatric, behavioral or conduct issues. Three of the youths were found the next morning.

South Carolina legislators introduced a bill Thursday to increase oversight of security and licensing procedures at residential treatment centers for children and adolescents in response to the escape.

The bill requires facilities to notify law enforcement of escapes, prohibits out-of-state clients who are sex offenders and places a 1,000-foot buffer zone between the treatment centers and any schools, child-care facilities, parks, public swimming pools and mass transportation stops.

Sponsors of the bill said they were unaware that out-of-state youths with violent histories had been placed at the facility.

The escape came two days after 18-year-old Treyvon Cortez Carey severely beat a corrections officer to escape from DYRS’ New Beginnings facility in Laurel.

Officials say Carey used a ladder to hop the razor-wire fence and drove off in the officer’s car, ditching it near Barry Farm in Southeast. Authorities are still looking for him.

Council Member Jim Graham, Ward 1 Democrat and chairman of the Committee on Human Services has oversight of DYRS, has called on officials to re-examine the placement of juvenile offenders outside D.C. borders. He cited the escapes and violent incidents involving youths who were released and returned to the District without a support network.