Police searching for ‘violent’ teen who escaped from youth correctional facility

Posted at 8:39 AM, Jun 25, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-27 08:06:47-04

GOLDEN, Colo. — Law enforcement agencies are trying to locate a 'violent' teen offender who escaped from the Lookout Mountain Youth Services Center in Golden.

Quinn Scaggs, 17, was reported missing from his room shortly after midnight Tuesday, according to the Colorado Department of Human Services. Scaggs was confirmed to be in his room at 11:58 p.m. and was missing as of 12:21 a.m., according to Golden Deputy Police Chief Joe Harvey.

Scaggs was committed to the Lookout Mountain Youth Services Center on a charge of possession of a handgun, according to Anders Jacobson, director of the Colorado Division of Youth Services. He was accused of taking part in an armed burglary spree in Colorado Springs, part of which was caught on a homeowner's surveillance camera.

Officials said Scaggs removed the window from his room on the ground floor and then used bed sheets tied together to get over the facility’s perimeter fence. Authorities don't know if he had somebody helping him.

Jacobson said the facility was adequately staffed, and bed and perimeter checks occurred within department policy. Scaggs was able to remove his window and get to the fence with "perfect timing," Jacobson said, exiting his room within about 15 minutes of a bed check.

Golden police, Boulder police and the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office all responded to assist in searching for Scaggs, using a K-9 and a drone equipped with thermal imaging equipment, but were unable to locate him.

Golden Police Department Deputy Chief Joe Harvey said, however, there's already discussions to determine whether he will be charged as an adult, "and actually moved out of this facility and into an adult facility."

Previous incidents

Court documents obtained by Denver7 show Scaggs has been involved in at least three incidents at the facility since October.

On October 8, Scaggs was in a classroom when he allegedly started trying to intimidate a teen who was new to the facility. A teacher tried to intervene and Scaggs started yelling at him. He then spit on the teacher and started punching him. Eventually, Scaggs got the teacher into a headlock. That teacher was taken to the hospital and needed surgery for his injuries.

Then, on January 11, Scaggs and two other juveniles are accused of jumping another teenager in a vocational training room at the facility. When a staff member tried to intervene, court documents state Scaggs started to throw punches at the staff member, hitting him between three and five times and leaving the staff member's neck and jaw sore. However, that incident was not reported to the Golden Police Department until March 5.

Additionally, on February 17, Scaggs and one other juvenile reportedly assaulted another teen at the facility in an incident that was caught on surveillance video. That alleged attack happened in the lunch room. Scaggs and the other teen allegedly punched and stomped on the teen. Court documents show the teenage victim did not fight back or try to defend himself.

Scaggs is now facing seven charges in relation to these incidents and was due to appear in court in July. Six of those charges are for assault.

Scaggs is described as a white male, 6 feet, 2 inches tall and 160 pounds with blond hair and blue eyes. He has a tattoo reading “Loyalty” above his right eyebrow. Jacobson said Scaggs' shoes were left behind at Lookout Mountain and there's no evidence he was picked up by someone in a vehicle.

Anyone with information on Scaggs’ whereabouts should call 911.

Two teens allegedly used similar tactics to escape from the facility last month. Jacobson said the facility is moving forward with improvements that will make escape more difficult, including adding anti-climbing mesh to the fencing. Efforts are also underway to increase staffing at Lookout Mountain and increase staff pay.

"The economy is very good right now and it’s difficult to attract individuals that want to work in our field for the salary that we provide," he said. "However our legislature has been very kind to us and they will be providing on it in the fridge a 22% salary increase support direct care staff over the next two years."

Jacobson said the department had accepted the resignation of the director a little more than a month ago. The facility has also moved some of the teens to other facilities, reducing the number of juveniles being held at the facility from 158 to 85. They are focusing on smaller things like shift briefings to start each day too, he said, so communication is as effective as possisble.

"We are concerned that this happened and again we are going to take a very close look at this situation and evaluate all of our policies and procedures," he said.