PHOTOS: Where not to hide from Thurston Co. deputies

Jun 6, 2019, 1:18 PM | Updated: 2:06 pm
Thurston County deputies find a suspect in an air vent at a home in Lacey, Thursday, June 6, 2019. (Thurston County Sheriff's Office) Thurston County deputies find a suspect in an air vent at a home in Lacey, Thursday, June 6, 2019. (Thurston County Sheriff's Office) Thurston County deputies find a suspect in an air vent at a home in Lacey, Thursday, June 6, 2019. (Thurston County Sheriff's Office) Thurston County deputies find a suspect in an air vent at a home in Lacey, Thursday, June 6, 2019. (Thurston County Sheriff's Office)

The suspect was full of hot air. He was all duct up. He really had to vent. Sure there’s some humor to be found from an incident in Lacey Thursday morning. But Thurston County Deputy Mitch King says that the situation could have turned out badly, even deadly.

King and another deputy were out in Lacey Thursday morning looking into a case involving a wanted subject for trafficking stolen property. That’s when they encountered two individuals outside a home.

“They were being pretty verbal with us and wouldn’t provide us with information for who they were,” King said. “I was able to find their booking photos through our jail system and determined that both of them had felony warrants.”

That’s when one of the individuals turned around and ran inside the home. The deputies had to request a search warrant to enter the home – that took about 45 minutes to an hour. Once inside the home, however, no one could be found. Three deputies and an officer from the Lacey Police Department searched room-by-room.

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Eventually, Deputy King opened a door to small area where a heating unit was located.

“Right away I saw a chunk of flesh where his body had blown open the duct work, and I could see the stripes where his Calvin Klein underwear was hanging out,” he said. “So I called him by his name and asked if he was OK. It took him a while, and all he said was ‘Hey bro, I can’t breathe.’”

It took a little while to get the grown man out of the vent, shoes first. Deputy King says that somebody else had unscrewed the cover to the vent, the suspect then climbed in, and they screwed the cover back on behind him.

“How he got in there, and fit in there as long as he did, I have no idea,” he said. “He’s 6’ 5” and that space is barely big enough for a kid to hide in.”

“If we hadn’t have found him he probably would have gotten stuck in there…” King said, noting that the two people who helped him into the vent had left the residence. “If we hadn’t have found him in there, there’s a good chance he would have had a hard time breathing or would have expired in that vent.”

King said that on one level, sure, it’s humorous.

“But in the long run it’s a lot easier to deal with your warrants,” he said. “You’re eventually going to get caught on them. If we hadn’t have gone in there to look for him, there’s a good chance he would have been in there for hours, if not have passed away in that vent.”

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PHOTOS: Where not to hide from Thurston Co. deputies