Parents questioning Las Vegas mental health facility after elaborate escape of multiple teens
Some teens still missing, families search for answers
LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) - A state agency has launched an investigation into a Las Vegas mental health and substance abuse hospital after numerous teenagers fled from the facility.
As of Tuesday evening, the Desert Winds facility confirms four are still missing.
LVMPD said “multiple juvenile runaways” on Friday night fled the Desert Winds facility off of West Rochelle Avenue. Patients are between 12 to 17 years old. Police said “the individuals in this incident are not considered endangered,” though an anonymous staff member said they worried that the teens encountered various dangerous elements while unsupervised.
Two anonymous medical staff members told FOX5, Friday night, a large group of teenagers was able to flee: they ambushed a nurses station, grabbed keys and badges and pulled a fire alarm. Numerous students fled but started to return overnight and into the weekend.
The Nevada Department of Health and Human Services released the following information, confirming an investigation:
Staff members tell FOX5, they have worried about breaches in security for months, and said if more security or personnel were on site, the incidents could have been prevented.
The hospital released this statement, calling the safe return of the teens the top priority:
FOX5 spoke to a family whose child is still missing.
“Something’s got to change. You don’t wait until these kids go missing and then now investigate violations,” said mother Ranell. FOX5 is withholding the last name of the family and the student. “I thought this place was safe. I thought this place had their protocols down,” she said. Her son is in the facility for mental health treatment.
Her son escaped twice last week.
Staff members tell FOX5, starting Thursday, a group of teenagers busted a window and escaped. Ranell said her son was part of that group, and police found her son at Red Rock Casino with other juveniles. All of them eventually returned to the facility.
Brandi Hecht is one of several parents who took to social media after they were told their child was missing. Social media posts circulated details of the missing teens and their eventual return.
“I got a call about 10:30 [Friday night] telling me that my child was missing from the facility…just that Metro was looking for him. They hung up the phone. It freaked me out,” said
Hecht went to the facility the next day. She was told her son was safe after all and had never left.
“He definitely feels traumatized and he was scared, with the fire alarms going off and Metro in there with guns pointed,” she said. Hecht pulled her son out of the facility until she could get more clarity on the ordeal and future prevention.
Stay with this developing story for more updates.
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