Police: Kidnapping suspect has history of mental health issues

Chief: Dunn has history of mental health issues
Published: Apr. 26, 2017 at 3:41 PM EDT|Updated: Apr. 26, 2017 at 6:53 PM EDT
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Blanchester police responded to this home on Central Avenue early Wednesday as they...
Blanchester police responded to this home on Central Avenue early Wednesday as they investigated an abduction report. A man was taken into custody shortly after 8 a.m. (FOX19 NOW/Jordan Vilines)
(FOX19 Now)
(FOX19 Now)

BLANCHESTER, OH (FOX19) - The man accused of kidnapping a woman and holding her captive in a backyard shed has a history of mental health issues, according to police.

Dennis Dunn was charged with kidnapping Wednesday after officials said the victim was rescued from a pit dug in a shed.

That was not the first time police were called to Dunn's home on Central Avenue.

Earlier this month,he was charged with disorderly conduct and possession of marijuana after police say he repeatedly called them to his his home because he heard voices or thought people were trying to get in

The incidents prompted Blanchester's police chief to tell a newspaper the case highlights flaws in Ohio's mental health system.

"This is a case that illustrates the failure of the mental health system in Ohio," Reinbolt told the Wilmington Journal News.

[Neighbor: Kidnapping suspect was a 'keep to himself type']

"It would appear to me that Mr. Dunn is in need of some sort of psychiatric treatment. He was taken to a mental health provider in order to receive that treatment. Within 24 hours he was released, but continues to exhibit the same symptoms."

"Over the past several decades the State of Ohio has closed most of its inpatient mental health facilities, leaving few beds available for individuals who need inpatient care. Unfortunately, I am convinced that doing so has left individuals like Mr. Dunn without the care and treatment they need and deserve."

The chief's remarks came after Dunn repeatedly called police to his home that week.

Dunn said people were trying to break into his house and could hear voices, police records show.

Police checked the area and found no one.

They smelled burnt marijuana outside the home, record state.

Dunn told an officer he smoked marijuana to help calm his nerves and grows it in the house for his personal use.

Police found and seized several small, potted marijuana plants.

They responded to the home again when Dunn called police to complain people were trying to break in.

Again, no one was found.

Police were yet again called to the residence - this time by neighbors who said Dunn was in the yard with a pistol in his hand.

An officer saw Dunn in the yard with a gun in his hand, but he retreated into the home as the officer pulled up, records show.

""He was hearing voices, he's out on his front lawn with a gun in his hand...all those things. I'm not Sigmund Freud, but all those things to me should point to the fact that he's a danger to others," Reinbolt said.

Dunn then came out the front door - gun still in hand - yelling about people being inside his home.

Police ordered Dunn to drop the firearm.  He did not immediately comply, so police issued additional orders.

He finally set the gun down on a lawn chair on the porch, according to police.

A second Blanchester police officer arrived to assist, and Dunn was taken by police car to Clermont Mercy Hospital for a psychiatric evaluation.

No one was found in his home, and the firearm was seized.

A few days later, Dunn, who had been released from the hospital, called police again.

This time, he told officers people were pounding on the window of his home, Reinbolt said.

Later that day, Blanchester police filed charges against Dunn of disorderly conduct and drug charges.

Reinbolt said he met with the head of the Warren-Clinton County Mental Health Department.

The department serves 250,000 people between the two counties, He said there are only eight beds to serve those who need in-patient care.

"I remember back when we still had state facilities where we could take people for in-patient treatment and in the past 20 years, Ohio has eliminated probably 75 percent of that bed space to save money," Reinbolt said. "I just don't understand how it is more humane to let somebody like that out into the community without any treatment, apparently, than keep them someplace where they can be cared for."

The latest budget numbers from the state's mental health services shows that agency could cut another $40 million before 2020.

He has a May 4 scheduling conference on the case in Clinton County Municipal Court.

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