UPDATE: Escaped mental patient, murder suspect caught in Tennessee

cwinston@thestate.comJanuary 2, 2014 

UPDATE: A murder patient who left the Department of Mental Health without permission on Thursday was captured in Tennessee without incident.

The patient was spotted by the Tennessee Highway Patrol at a motel near Exit 182 on Interstate 40, according to a release from the mental health department.

The individual was taken into custody without incident.

The Department is working with SLED and other authorities to secure the patient’s return to South Carolina.

ORIGINAL STORY: A mental health patient who was committed following the 2006 murder of his mother and stepfather escaped a Columbia facility on Thursday.

Jason Mark Carter, 39, has been a patient at the G. Werber Bryan Psychiatric Hospital off Farrow Road since he was found incompetent to stand trial following the March 2006 deaths of Kevin and Debra Ann Perkins. Their bodies were found in their Seneca home, locked inside a basement room with Carter.

Carter is a 5-foot-10, white male who weighs 165 pounds, has hazel eyes and brown hair, the Oconnee County Sheriff’s Office said in a release. He was last seen wearing a black coat with a black and white sweater underneath and brown cargo pants. He may be in a stolen 1991 White Chevy van with a tag of SG61580 with the number 244 on the bumper.

Carter was participating in a part-time work program in a supply building on the Farrow Road campus when he was discovered missing, according to Mark Binkley, deputy director for administration with the S.C. Department of Mental Health. A short time later, the van was discovered missing. Officials considered the two related.

Binkley said it was too early to determine what allowed Carter to escape. He said a formal report would be conducted to see “what things went wrong.”

Public safety officers with the mental health department were alerted to the escape around noon. An alert was shared through a national crime database at 1:20 p.m. It says Carter has family in North Carolina and Greenville, but it is unclear where he may be heading.

Bickley said the Bryan Psychiatric Hospital is a 370-bed facility that includes patients from the community as well as the court system that have been involuntarily committed.

If you come in contact with Jason Mark Carter, use extreme caution and report any sightings to 911, the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office at 864-638-4111, Crime Stoppers at 1-888-CRIME-SC or your local law enforcement agency.

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