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Teen charged as an adult in Echo Glen Children's Center escape pleads not guilty

Drayton Miller, who was convicted of a murder he committed when he was 14, pleaded not guilty.

SNOQUALMIE, Wash. — A teen who escaped from Echo Glen Children's Center and was charged as an adult pleaded not guilty Wednesday.

Drayton Miller, 16, was charged with first-degree escape as an adult due to his criminal history.

Bail was maintained at $500,000, and a trial date was set for Feb. 1. 

It was the fourth reported escape at the juvenile detention facility in the past two years.

Around 6:15 p.m. on Nov. 26, the three teens escaped the facility and were found around 8:30 p.m. They were taken to the King County Children and Family Justice Center.

Miller and one of the 16-year-olds have previously been convicted of murder. When Miller was 14 years old, he killed two men within months of each other. One of the 16-year-olds was involved in a deadly shooting and was ordered to be in the custody of the Department of Children, Youth, and Families until he was 21.

The fact that Miller was able to escape is fueling frustration for staff and the people living near the facility. The cottage at Echo Glen where the escape happened is under maximum security. 

Ross Hunger, who leads the Department of Children, Youth, and Families, which runs Echo Glen, said there were two employees working there at the time of the escape. Three is considered best practice, however.

In June, the union representing workers at Echo Glen said more than 100 employees signed a petition calling for management to address the staffing issues. Hunter said they've hired an additional 30 people in the last six months, as well as bringing in contracted security staffing and making upgrades to their training.

Another 16-year-old and a 17-year-old were charged as juveniles with first-degree escape in connection to the incident. 

One of the teens charged as a juvenile was arraigned Nov. 30 at the King County Children and Family Justice Center. He was told he wouldn't be returning the Echo Glen, with a judge saying she wanted to hear from Echo Glen as to its plan to prevent something like this from happening again.

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