A paroled sex offender escaped Friday from a locked mental health facility in Redwood City and the San Mateo Sheriff’s office is warning the public to be on the lookout.
Derrick Sanders, 34, escaped early Friday morning from the Cordilleras Mental Health Rehabilitation Center.
A spokesman for the sheriff’s department said Sanders, a high-risk offender, may have escaped through an elevator shaft at around 4 a.m.
"He was basically there for a treatment program,” said San Mateo County Sheriff Lt. Larry Shumaker. “He has a misdemeanor case and a sex offense against a minor in this county.”
Sanders, a transient, has a history of violence and is mentally ill, according to the Sheriff's Office. He is facing misdemeanor charges in San Mateo County for a sexual offense involving a minor.
“He's a parolee, he has violence in his history, he has prior sex offenses in his history,” Shumaker said. “The fact he has also a sex offense with minors is definitely a high risk in our community.”
Sanders has lived in San Mateo and Alameda counties. He is 5-feet 11-inches tall, 165 pounds and was last seen wearing a red polo shirt and blue jeans.
Officials at Cordilleras declined to say anything about what happened, but some who've worked nearby say this incident highlights a larger problem.
“I'm not surprised,” said Sharon Bertolucci, a Redwood City resident. “I've been in the mental health field and I've seen these budget cuts and as a result of budget cuts there's going to be incidents like this.”
Anyone who has information about Sanders' whereabouts is asked to call 911 and avoid contact with him. Tips may also be relayed to Detective Marcus Gathright at 650-363-7823 or the anonymous witness line at 800-547-2700.