A former resident in the state’s sexual predator treatment program who threatened a driver with a plastic knife Feb. 3 and escaped made a first appearance in court.

Randy E. Snodgrass, 58, is charged in Labette County District Court with aggravated kidnapping, a level one felony, aggravated battery, a lower-level felony, and aggravated escape from custody, a mid-level felony.

Around noon Feb. 3, a van driven by a state hospital employee, with Snodgrass as the only passenger, was returning to the PSHTC campus in Parsons after Snodgrass completed a job interview in Independence. Snodgrass was in the state’s sexual predator treatment program and has been in Parsons since Dec. 20, 2019.

Snodgrass was not handcuffed during the transport and sat in the front passenger seat, according to Labette County Sheriff Darren Eichinger.

On U.S. 400 just before making the right turn onto Ness Road, Snodgrass is alleged to have ordered the female driver to pull over. He held a plastic knife to her neck. A struggle ensued and the female driver received minor injuries that required treatment at Labette Health. Snodgrass jumped out of the van. The state employee jumped out and retrieved her state-issued cell phone from the back seat and got back in the van and locked the doors, Eichinger said.

Snodgrass ran off and the state employee called 911.

Snodgrass was last seen running north from near Ag Choice. At 1:30 a.m. Feb. 4, more than 13 hours after his escape, Snodgrass was captured while walking on K-47 in Neosho County near Ness Road. A traveler spotted him walking, thought it suspicious and called the Neosho County Sheriff’s Department. A sheriff’s sergeant arrested Snodgrass, who told law enforcement that he followed the Union Pacific Railroad tracks into Neosho County before turning west and getting onto K-47.

Snodgrass was in the state’s sexual predator treatment program. The program allows a person to be indefinitely confined through a civil commitment order signed and overseen by a judge if he or she has a mental abnormality or personality disorder and is likely to engage in predatory acts of sexual violence. The law has been in place since 1994 and has been amended a number of times.

Residents in tier three or the next phase, transitional release, may live at Parsons State Hospital in Maple or Willow cottages, which can house a total of 16 residents. The cottages house seven residents now that Snodgrass is gone, according to the Kansas Department of Aging and Disability Services.

Part of the program in the transitional phase is finding and maintaining work, seeking out community housing and counseling so residents can move into the conditional release phase. Tier three works toward financial independence as well, including finding work.

Conditional release lasts a minimum of five years, during which residents are monitored and continue counseling as they live and work in a community, a program summary shows.

Snodgrass was in tier three of the program.

He made a first appearance on Friday and will return to court on Feb. 20. Shane Adamson will be his attorney. Bond is set at $150,000.

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