Escaped prisoner caught less than 2 miles from Olympic Corrections Center, DOC says

Mark D. Vannausdle reportedly escaped from the Olympic Correctional Facility in Forks Saturday morning.
Mark D. Vannausdle reportedly escaped from the Olympic Correctional Facility in Forks Saturday morning. Jefferson County Sheriff's Office

Authorities have safely apprehended a prisoner who escaped the minimum-security Olympic Corrections Center in Forks on Sunday, the state Department of Corrections announced Tuesday morning.

He was found less than two miles from the prison, according to DOC.

Mark D. Vannausdle escaped at about 7 a.m. Sunday and was apprehended without incident just before 7:40 a.m. Tuesday. After receiving a medical assessment, he will be interviewed and transported to a state correctional facility, according to the DOC announcement.

The Olympic Corrections Center had reached out to all local logging companies to alert them of the escape, including Bruch & Bruch Construction, DOC spokesperson Janelle Guthrie wrote in an email to The Olympian. When Joel Bruch saw Vannausdle along a road about 1.5 miles from the OCC, he found an Inmate Recovery Team member and took him in his truck to where he had seen Vannausdle, according to Guthrie.

The IRT team member then chased and apprehended Vannausdle.

Vannausdle had escaped on foot while moving from his living unit to the dining hall. The living quarters and dining facility have separate fences around them, but there is no fence around the entire perimeter, Guthrie told The News Tribune.

Vannausdle was convicted of first-degree assault and first-degree armed robbery in Pierce County, according to the Department of Corrections, and started serving his 20-year sentence in September 2002. His release date was tentatively set for January 1, 2021.

Court records show Vannausdle was convicted in 2004 of attempting escape from the McNeil Island Corrections Center, which is now closed.

In an email, Guthrie told The Olympian that McNeil Island Corrections Center employees found a ladder that looked to be made out of boot laces and wood in a folder “on Vannausdle’s person during a routine search.” Vannausdle did not attempt to escape, but was charged in Pierce County, pled guilty to first-degree attempted escape, and was sentenced to an additional nine months of incarceration, according to Guthrie.

The Olympic Corrections Center, which opened in 1968, is a minimum custody facility that can house 380 male inmates. Commonly referred to as a camp or work camp, it is a facility where during the last four years of their sentence, inmates classified as “low risk” are eligible to work in the community under supervision, Guthrie said.

News Tribune reporter James Drew contributed to this report.
Sara Gentzler joined The Olympian in June 2019. She primarily covers Thurston County government and its courts, as well as breaking news. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Creighton University.