Third Escapee From North Texas State Hospital Found

Just more than a week ago, the Wichita County Sheriff's Office and the Wichita Falls Police Department were called to help search for two patients from the North Texas State Hospital who slipped out through a window and left the campus on foot.  Chief Information Officer Crystal Dennstedt said that type of thing doesn't happen often.

"The infrequency in which this happens, it's rare that there is really no need for concern.  There really isn't," she said.

But just Sunday night, a similar escape happened again.  This time, one woman left through her dorm window and also got away from campus.  She was found just last night, and is now back at the hospital.  Even with two different escapes in eight days, the Sheriff's Office agrees with the state hospital -- it's very unusual that authorities are called to look for patients in that situation.

"We will look at everything that happened.  We will look at the processes that we need to change or things we can do differently to avoid this in the future.  Even though it's a very rare occasion, we still want to take a look at that and we will certainly be about the business," Dennstedt said.

According to Sergeant Joe Snyder with the Wichita Falls Police Department, law enforcement can only apprehend escaped patients who are court-committed to the hospital., not those who are committed by themselves or doctors.  Chief Meador at the Sheriff's Office, though, says they'll help search for any missing patient if they have the resources to do so.  Officials we spoke with said there was no reason to believe the public was in danger during the most recent escape.