The search for a dangerous sexual predator, John Freeman Colt, who escaped from the Sexual Predator Treatment Program of Larned State Hospital in Larned, Kans. on June 30, continues.
According to an update provided by Pawnee County Attorney Douglas McNett, shared on his Facebook page on July 12, the Pawnee County Local Emergency Preparedness Committee was updated by Pawnee County Sheriff Scott King “regarding the basic timeline of Colt’s escape.”
This timeline included a nearly five and half hour delay between Colt leaving the facility and law enforcement first notified.
The delay has been harshly observed by citizens and other law enforcement.
“I would go further to say the lack of cooperation plus a five and a half hour delay delay due to sheer incompetence has placed the citizens of Kansas at risk. I understand escapes happen, I could have an escape from my jail today, but it is how the incident is handled in the immediate aftermath that makes all the difference,” said Barton County Sheriff Brian Bellendir on the Barton County Facebook Page. “Drastic changes are needed at LSH.
“The Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services should not be in charge of holding violent sexual predators. A change of culture is desperately needed.”
Sheriff King’s timeline specified John Freeman Colt walked out of the Larned State Hospital at approximately 7:08 a.m. by disguising himself as hospital staff.
Colt was last seen on private security cameras walking south in the 1300 block of Broadway Street, in Larned, Kans. at approximately 11:20 a.m. on June 30.
According to the update, “the Pawnee County Sheriff’s Department was not notified of the escape until 12:47 p.m. At that same time LSH activated their notification system for area residence.”
Officials from Larned State Hospital and the Kansas Department of Aging and Disability Services (KDADS) were in attendance to answer questions and explain changes made since the escape to prevent this from happening in the future.
Sheriff King, along with the assisting law enforcement agencies, advised those in attendance as to the efforts law enforcement have made to date, the importance of timely notification and his frustration in getting timely access to video and documentation.
Those concerns included an inquiry by KDADS legal department as to the need to obtain a HIPAA related protective order.
“I have full confidence in the Pawnee County Sheriff’s Department and the assisting law enforcement agencies to pursue all legal means at their disposal to locate and apprehend the escaped violent sexual predator, John Freeman Colt,” said McNett. “To that end, on July 6th Pawnee County Sheriff Scott King made the decision a search warrant was necessary to expedite the securing of critical evidence related to the investigation.
“As Sheriff King so passionately express today, law enforcement should at the very least expect KDADS, the agency actually responsible for the escape and delayed reporting, to show the same level of urgency as the investigators tasked with capturing him.”
McNett continued, “For the administration in Topeka to inquire at this point about a need for an order to protect “health information” illustrates a total lack of the sense of priorities. The five and half hour delay between the actual escape and the first notification to law enforcement resulted in the loss of their best window of opportunity to capture the escapee. Each minute hereafter potentially places the public in greater danger.”
John Freeman Colt remains at large. Anyone with information as to his whereabouts should contact law enforcement immediately.
If encountered, do not approach Colt as he is considered dangerous.
Link to original article: www.swksradio.com/violent-sexual-predator-escaped-from-larned-state-hospital-loose-in-southwest-kansas/.