Search For Escaped Patient At State Hospital Vernon

Vernon Police, Wilbarger County Sheriffs, DPS Troopers and North Texas State Hospital Staff continue to search for an escaped patient.

Two men escaped from the Adolescent Forensic Program section of the North Texas State Hospital's Vernon campus around 6 p.m. Sunday evening.

Hospital security was able to locate one of the patients, but the other remains on the run. Vernon police warned residents to secure their property as they searched for the patient Sunday evening. Vernon Police Chief Tom Wilson said, "We were asking people to lock up their cars and their doors and make sure the keys are removed from vehicles as well."

Chief Wilson said he had consulted with NTSH staff and they were not considering the patient a threat to the public. The Adolescent Forensic Program, where the patient was being held, is for non violent offenders.

The suspect is described as a 17 year old Hispanic Male. He stands 5 ft. 9, weighs 140 lbs and has short curly hair. The patient was last seen in a white T-shirt and blue shorts.

Police tell Newschannel 6 the patient may have stolen a truck with the intent of trying to go home to the Lubbock area. A maroon 2001 Dodge Dakota pickup was stolen from a neighborhood near the facility between 7 a.m. and 11 a.m. Monday morning. The Texas license plate on the truck is DV3SYY.

Police have called in multiple agencies to assist with the search. Chief Wilson said, "We're not 100% that he did leave the area but the timing would seem right that he possibly could be in this vehicle. We are still continuing to look in the Vernon area as well, along with the surrounding areas and counties."

Police have received several tips but none of them have yielded any results. Wilbarger County Sheriff Larry Lee said his deputies have been patrolling rural areas but have not found anything.

A spokeswoman with the NTSH said the Vernon Campus is conducting its own internal investigation.

Jack Lamson, Newschannel 6