- Associated Press - Sunday, September 23, 2012

SNOQUALMIE, Wash. (AP) — Six teenage boys escaped from a juvenile detention center in Washington state after knocking out a female staff member, but all were captured a few hours later early Sunday in nearby woods, authorities said.

The King County Sheriff’s Department said it received word of the escape at about 11:30 p.m. Saturday from Echo Glen Children’s Center in Snoqualmie, about 25 miles east Seattle.

“They basically attacked the staff member, knocked her out, took her keys and fled,” spokeswoman Cindy West said. The teens left the woman unconscious and locked in a room at the facility, she said.

The six males — three 14-year-olds and three 15-year-olds — were serving time for offenses including assault, possession of firearms and burglary, Ms. West said.

Law officers on the ground with search dogs and in the air combed the area on the outskirts of Snoqualmie before a helicopter crew spotted them in woods near the center, according to Ms. West. All were caught by 2 a.m. Sunday.

“The biggest reason they were apprehended so quickly was the helicopter,” she said. “Without that, we would have been looking for needles in a haystack. It allowed us to apprehend them before they got into the neighborhood.”

Once they were spotted by the helicopter, the teens split up into three groups and ran in different directions, Ms. West said. Deputies in the helicopter were able to direct deputies on the ground, including K-9 units, to where the teens were running or hiding.

One was bitten by a K-9 while trying to escape apprehension and was taken to a hospital for treatment, Ms. West said. The others were arrested without incident and booked on charges of assault, unlawful imprisonment and escape, she said.

The staff member who was attacked lay unconscious in a locked room at the juvenile facility until other inmates found her and reported the incident.

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