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Psychiatric Patient on Involuntary Hold Leaves County Facility

Authorities Deem Young Woman Not ‘At Risk,’ Launch Limited, Unsuccessful Search


Saturday, March 16, 2013

Authorities have confirmed that a patient placed on an involuntary hold at the county’s Psychiatric Health Facility (PHF) walked away Thursday morning without authorization and has not been found since. The patient, reportedly a young woman, had been placed in the PHF unit because at the time of admission she was deemed a “threat to herself or to others.”

But based on information provided by PHF caregivers, Sheriff’s deputies determined this was no longer the case, and she was not deemed “at risk.” That’s the designation required to trigger a helicopter search. Sheriff’s deputies worked in cooperation with California Highway Patrol officers to find the missing patient but without success.

Sheriff’s spokesperson Kelly Hoover said medical privacy laws prevented her office from disclosing much about the incident. She did say the missing woman was wanted for violating her probation for a couple of misdemeanor vandalism charges. Hoover stressed that the missing PHF patient “walked away” and did not “escape.” Hoover also said there was no information to confirm accounts that the missing PHF patient walked across Highway 101 shortly upon her release.

Hoover did verify there were reports of a woman crossing the freeway at about the same time as the PHF patient went missing. She said she could not confirm if the two incidents involved different people or not.

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