Friday, May 20, 2022

Still no word on patient that escaped Eastern State Hospital

Eastern State Hospital (WYDaily/Sarah Fearing)

JAMES CITY COUNTY — As of 1:00 p.m. on Thursday, April 22, there is still no word as to the whereabouts of a patient that escaped from Eastern State Hospital.

The hospital, which is managed by the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services [VDBHDS], reported that at approximately 4:00 a.m. on Tuesday, April 20, a patient escaped from the facility.

Meghan McGuire, spokesperson for the facility, said that Eastern State Hospital contacted Virginia State Police (VSP), James City County Police, City of Williamsburg Police, and William & Mary Police departments.

Shelley Ward, spokesperson for York-Poquoson Sheriff’s Office, said that they were also notified.

Sgt. Michelle Anaya, spokesperson for VSP, said that the department was notified by the hospital at approximately 4:26 a.m., and arrived soon thereafter with a canine search team in an attempt to help locate the individual.

Meanwhile, the City of Williamsburg Police Department’s morning shift searched within its jurisdiction.

It is also unclear who is in charge of the investigation. When Sgt. Anaya was asked by WYDaily if VSP was leading the search, she insisted that the department was there only to assist but not to lead the investigation.

Meanwhile, McGuire said, “[VDBHDS] does not have the capability to conduct searches if there is an elopement. Our process is to complete warrants and provide VSP and/or other jurisdictions with any helpful information.”

VSP describes the patient as being a male in his 30’s and from the City of Norfolk. However, due to federal and state patient privacy laws, no other descriptive information about the patient could be released.

As of the publication of this update, Norfolk Sheriff’s Office has not returned WYDaily’s request for comment.

WYDaily will continue to keep our readers informed about the latest information in this developing story.

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