Man Flees State Facility in Winslow

Hallway Stock Photo

Philadelphia Inquirer – April 23, 1988

By John Way Jennings, Inquirer Staff Writer

A Pennsauken man, charged last year with having set a Camden motel fire that killed one person and injured 16 others, escaped yesterday from Ancora State Hospital in Winslow Township, according to Camden County police.

A broadcast message by the Camden County Police Communications Center said Wade Ray King, 30, of the 6700 block of Grant Avenue, escaped about 4 p.m. The escape occurred as he and other patients were being led from their restricted cottages to a cafeteria, according to Jacqueline Tencza, a spokeswoman for the state Division of Mental Health and Hospitals.

King, who was found not guilty in the case by reason of insanity, had been a patient for two weeks at Ancora, according to Tencza. She said that few details of the escape were known and that an investigation by hospital authorities was being conducted.

Tencza said it was not immediately known how many staff attendants and patients were going to the cafeteria when King hid somewhere along the way and managed to escape.

King was arrested March 27, 1987, at a motel on Black Horse Pike several hours after he was accused of having started a three-alarm fire in a room for which he was registered at the Oasis Motel on Admiral Wilson Boulevard.

After the arrest, Dennis G. Wixted, county first assistant prosecutor, said King had started the fire with matches. Investigators said Grant had started the fire in retaliation for having been robbed by two men who he said had kicked in the door of his room.

Bharti Patel, 19, of Norristown, who was related to the owner of the Oasis Motel, died of injuries suffered in the fire. More than 20 people escaped uninjured from the early-morning blaze, which caused more than $600,000 in damage to the motel.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.