B.C. RCMP search for 2 missing Forensic Psychiatric Hospital patients
Published Sunday, February 14, 2016 1:40PM EST
RCMP officers in Coquitlam, B.C., are asking for the public's help in locating two patients who escaped the local Forensic Psychiatric Hospital in the past week.
Violet Edna Miharija, 41, went missing from the hospital on Friday night, police said.
She is described as 5'2 and weighing 130 pounds. She has been charged in the past with impaired driving and theft, but is unlikely to be violent, police said.
Miharija's escape comes days after David Fomradas, 38, went missing on Feb. 10.
According to an RCMP press release, Fomradas was reported "on an unauthorized absence" from a housing program located near the main hospital location.
The hospital's executive director, Angela Draude, told CTV Vancouver that Fomradas had been living in nearby cottages run by Coast Mental Health since Dec. 31.
During this time, Draude said, Fomradas used regular day passes to legally enter the community, and doctors felt he was making progress.
"I can say he appeared to be doing rather well," she said.
In 2009, Fomradas was involved with stealing and crashing a car with a Vancouver actor inside. He was found not criminally responsible for the incident, due to mental illness. Fomradas also escaped the hospital in 2012, but was later found.
He is described as a Caucasian man, standing 5'11 tall, with blue eyes, long brown hair, a moustache and a beard. He is believed to be wearing dark grey pants, a brown sweater, a black jacket and a hat or a toque.
According to the RCMP press release, the missing man has the potential to be violent when not on his medication.
Coquitlam RCMP Cpl Jamie Chung said both Miharija and Fomradas need help, and that anybody who sees the patients should contact police or call 911. They should not approach either patient.
"They are (in the hospital) for a reason. They are suffering from mental illness," Chung said. "These people are in need of help."
The escapes have caused concern in the local community, particularly in the Kwikwetlem First Nation, which is located near the hospital.
"I'm fearful for the nation. We've got kids here. We've got elders here. God forbid something bad happens," Kwikwetlem Senior Administrative Officer Dale Lessoway said.
Lessoway said the amount of patients that have gone missing from the hospital has gone down in recent years. However, he said he still planned to meet with the hospital administration to discuss ways to prevent further escapes.
Located on the Colony Farms grounds in Coquitlam, B.C., the Forensic Psychiatric Hospital has 190 beds for patients.
The hospital "treats and rehabilitates individuals who have come in conflict with the law and are deemed unfit to stand trial or not criminally responsible due to mental illness," the facility's website says.
The hospital says its goal is to safely and gradually reintegrate patients into the community.
In the past five years, the hospital says only five people have gone missing from the site.
Officials asks anybody with information on Miharija or Fomradas' whereabouts call 911 or contact the Coquitlam RCMP at 604-945-1550 and quote the file number 2016-4669 for Miharija or 2016-4392 for Fomradas.
With files from CTV Vancouver