- The Washington Times - Monday, June 20, 2011

A ward of the city with a history of escape absconded from Thurgood Marshall Baltimore Washington International Airport on Sunday as he was being transported back to the metropolitan region for a court appearance, officials with the Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services (DYRS) said.

Brandon Sparrow, 18, has been confirmed as the youth in question by DYRS sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to address the matter publicly.

At the time of his escape, DYRS officials said in a press release, he was being transported from Cottonwood Treatment Center, a secure psychiatric residential-treatment facility in Salt Lake City.

The Maryland Transportation Authority Police, Anne Arundel County Police Department and the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department were immediately notified, the release states, and are actively working to return the youth to custody. An adult bench warrant has been issued as a result of the youth´s failure to appear at court, according to the release.

In April, The Washington Times reported that Sparrow was among four DYRS youth who escaped the Palmetto Summerville Behavioral Health Center in Summerville, S.C. All of the youths eventually were recaptured, yet D.C. Council member Jim Graham, Ward 1 Democrat, who has been conducting confirmation hearings for interim DYRS director Neil Stanley, questioned the wisdom of placing troubled youths outside the District.

DYRS authorities identified the youth in question, whom they declined to name, citing confidentiality laws, as a black male, 5-foot-9 and weighing approximately 150 lbs. He was last seen wearing blue shorts and a white t-shirt.

“We are taking all precautions to ensure that the youth is brought back as quickly as possible,” said Chris Shorter, chief of staff to Mr. Stanley.

• Jeffrey Anderson can be reached at jmanderson@washingtontimes.com.

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