A patient from the Community Behavioral Heath Hospital in Baxter walked away around 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, prompting a ground and air search by the Baxter and Brainerd police, State Patrol and the Crow Wing County Sheriff's department.
Officers concentrated their initial search on the woods, fields and neighborhoods between Grand Oaks Drive, where the CBHH is located, and Inglewood Drive, but were unable to locate the individual.
UPDATE: Hospital patient found
BAXTER - An escaped patient from the Community Behavioral Health Hospital in Baxter was found Wednesday morning, several hours after he walked out of the facility that resulted in a ground and air search by several agencies Tuesday night.
Beki Sommer of the Baxter Police Department said the patient was found, is safe and back in the hospital. Sommer said the patient was found somewhere in Crow Wing County.
No other details of the escape or capture was available Wednesday morning.
After an initial search of the area with a K9 unit, law enforcement forces regrouped, a State Patrol helicopter was called in to search from the air and officers canvassed neighborhoods and talked to residents.
"It's kind of a worst-case scenario but it happened," Baxter police chief Jim Exsted said. "We didn't want this to happen but it did and we're doing the best we can to take care of the problem."
Officers on the ground went door to door, handing out fliers with basic information on the individual and talked to residents about the situation. Exsted was quick to point out that the individual was not a criminal and was not believed to be dangerous.
Baxter police chief Jim Exsted (left) talked with officers Tuesday evening who were searching the area near the Community Behavioral Health Hospital in Baxter. Brainerd Dispatch/Nels Norquist » Purchase reprints of this photo.
"If we don't locate him tonight he's entered in as a missing person," Exsted said. "This is something that, as a community, we didn't want to see happen. Now that it's happened, we're going to do our best to take care of the situation.
"Our No. 1 goal is to protect the residents. That's why you see so many officers out going door to door because we want to make them feel comfortable."
Exsted also said he believed the individual was no longer in the immediate area and more than likely to head to a familiar residence.
"Chances are very good he's long gone," Exsted said. "The tendency for these people is to just take off and run. I don't know where he's from, I believe it may be Brainerd. Chances are pretty good that he'll head to a residence."
TROY GUNDERSON may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5865.
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