Arkansas police hunting for psychologist who left hospital with psych patient

Police are searching for a psychologist who left Little Rock-based Arkansas State Hospital with a patient March 20, reports the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

Authorities issued an arrest warrant for 41-year-old Michelle Messer March 21. She is wanted on a misdemeanor charge of aiding in an unauthorized departure. Security footage from the state-run psychiatric hospital showed Ms. Messer leaving the facility with 46-year-old psychiatric patient Cory Chapin.

A court acquitted Mr. Chapin of numerous charges, including kidnapping and theft, by reason of mental illness in 2015. He became a patient at Arkansas State Hospital's forensic unit, which treats patients with mental illnesses who are accused of crimes, in December 2015.

State records show Ms. Messer, a licensed independent psychological examiner, has worked in Arkansas' Department of Human Services for nine years. The state of her relationship with Mr. Chapin is not clear.

Arkansas State Hospital plans to terminate her employment once she is located.

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