- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 20, 2018

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Arkansas authorities are looking for a worker and a patient from the state hospital who they say left the facility without authorization.

The Department of Human Services said a staff member used access to the hospital’s forensic unit to walk the patient out of the facility Tuesday. Hospital police say they drove away in the worker’s personal vehicle, a blue Mazda 3S Grand Touring Car with Arkansas plates 502RBD.

A hospital police bulletin identified the staff member as psychologist Michelle Messer and the patient as 46-year-old Cory Chapin. DHS requested a bench warrant for the arrests of both and said Messer will be terminated once found.

Chapin has been a fugitive from the Arkansas State Hospital before.

He was committed to the hospital after he was acquitted in 2015 by reason of mental illness of attempted kidnapping, theft, unauthorized use of a vehicle and drug possession. Court records show he was given a 48-hour pass to leave with his father in February 2016 and fled the state. He remained a fugitive until he was recaptured last October in Las Vegas.

The DHS website says the hospital’s 24-bed forensic service area assesses and treats patients with mental illnesses who are accused of a crime. The site says all people in the unit have been court-ordered to undergo evaluation or treatment.

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