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Patient missing from AZ State Mental Hospital

Posted at 9:25 PM, Dec 02, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-02 23:25:17-05

A patient from the Arizona State Mental Hospital escaped Wednesday during an off-site trip and is still out of custody, officials said.

The patient is a resident in one of the Arizona State Hospital's forensic units, which typically house criminally-insane patients.

SPECIAL SECTION: ABC15 INVESTIGATES THE ARIZONA STATE HOSPITAL

State health officials said he is "considered to be low-risk for potential harm to others."

ABC15 spoke to multiple sources who said the patient was able to escape while at an off-site addiction meeting. State officials added that the patient was able to remove a GPS tracking device.

Hospital employees notified Phoenix police and are working to provide officers with information to help bring the patient back safely, officials said.

The state hospital has had previous problems with patient escapes. Those issues were highlighted in a 2013 ABC15 investigation that found 16 patients had escaped in a three-year period.

One of the patients ended up murdering a woman in 2011.

In recent months, the Arizona State Hospital has instituted a series of reforms stemming from an ABC15 investigation and a pair of outside reviews.

Contact ABC15 Investigator Dave Biscobing at dbiscobing@abc15.com