Summit patient walks away from facility

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - A male patient being held at the Summit Behavioral Center walked away from the facility early Tuesday morning, according to the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addition Services.

The patient, Robert Ray, had been in the facility since September on a theft charge out of Hamilton County. An employee noticed her set of keys missing around 3:30 a.m.

The PIO said the facility notified Cincinnati Police and Ohio State Highway Patrol.  He was located by Cincinnati officers within the hour at a Speedway gas station not far from the facility.

The PIO said this is a rare occurrence and an internal investigation will be conducted into how the keys were misplaced and the patient managed to escape detection and walk away from the secure facility.

Summit Behavioral Center is a state-run mental health facility located off the Paddock Road exit along Interstate 75.  FOX19 investigated the facility in September after a whistleblower contacted FOX19 claiming that a Summit patient had severely beaten a psychiatrist at the facility over the summer.

FOX19 found the vast majority of Summit Behavioral's patients have had some run-in with the law. State figures show 53 percent of all the patients at Summit have already been to court and been found not guilty for reason of insanity. While studies show most people with a mental illness are not violent, this is a particularly violent group.

According to the whistleblower who contacted FOX19, people who work at Summit are often worried about their safety.

Neither Summit's administrators nor the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services would speak with us on camera about the alleged incident. However, a spokesman for the state agency sent us a statement saying the hospital takes safety very seriously, that assaults are uncommon and if they do occur are reviewed in depth to further improve safety in state-run facilities.

The Ohio Mental Health & Addiction Services released a statement late Tuesday afternoon, saying, "the hospital staff will conduct an analysis and determine whether any improvements can be made to prevent a similar incident in the future."

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