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Charges filed against LSH escapee accomplice
Emilia Melinda  Brown

LARNED — A 38-year-old Ulysses woman was due to be transported to Pawnee County Thursday, to face formal charges in connection with the Jan. 3 escape of Isaac Nathaniel Watts from the Crisis Stabilization Unit at Larned State Hospital.

Pawnee County Attorney Douglas McNett announced Wednesday afternoon that a charge of aiding escape, a severity level 7 nonperson felony, had been filed against Emilia Melinda Brown, 38, of Ulysses. Brown had been held at Finney County Jail after being arrested with Watts on probable cause by the Garden City Police Department at a Garden City hotel at approximately 11 a.m. Tuesday. She was then booked into Finney County Jail, with cash or surety bond set at $15,000. McNett said the Pawnee County complaint alleges Brown provided transportation for Watts from the LSH campus. A date for the first appearance had not been set by Thursday afternoon.

Watts’s escape

At the time of his escape, Watts was at LSH for mental evaluation subject to a hold by the Grant County Sheriff’s Office. He had been arrested in Grant County on felony charges of attempted second-degree murder charges in connection with a domestic situation on Nov. 29, 2021. 


According to reports, Watts had learned of an unlocked door to the CSU from a fellow patient and formulated an escape plan that included arranging for transportation from the LSH campus. At approximately 9 p.m. Monday, Jan. 3, he left the unit wearing multiple layers of clothing and a state-supplied jean jacket.

Around 11:30 p.m., the Pawnee County Sheriff’s Office was notified of the walkaway and an investigation began immediately. At the time, Watts and his female accomplice were checking into the Hampton Inn in Garden City. Garden City law enforcement located Watts at the Hampton Inn with a female inside the room. The Garden City/Finney County SWAT team responded, apprehending Watts and his accomplice without incident.

According to McNett, Watts will be formally charged with aggravated escape from custody once the Pawnee County Sheriff’s investigation is completed.

Earlier, Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly had requested a security review be conducted by the Kansas Department of Aging and Disability Services (KDADS) immediately following the recapture of LSH escapee John Freeman Colt in September. 

On Tuesday, KDADS announced it has been working with the Correctional Leaders Association to retain an independent firm to conduct a comprehensive security review. Governor Laura Kelly announced the review after John Colt escaped from the LSH Sexual Predator Treatment in June of 2021 and the governor accelerated her request for a review following Watts’s Monday escape.