Police find 4 teens after they escaped from Belmont Pines in Liberty

U.S. & World

LIBERTY TWP., Ohio (WKBN) – Police found four teens who escaped from a Liberty Township hospital over the weekend.

Police found Nevaeh Dudley, 14, at her home in Pennsylvania Monday. The three others — 13-year-old Laci Mays, 14-year-old Khalia Davis and 17-year-old Stephanie Williams — were found in Boardman Tuesday morning.

They’re all on their way back to Belmont Pines.

On Monday, Mays’ family begged for her safe return.

“We had posted these posters for the safe return of our daughter,” said Ashley Eaton, her mother. “Worried ain’t even a word to describe it, neither is petrified.”

Liberty Township police responded just before 1 p.m. Saturday to Belmont Pines Hospital on Churchill Hubbard Road. They were called there on reports that four teen girls had escaped from the facility.

Hospital staff told police that the four females broke through two sets of security doors before fleeing west toward Shady Road, according to a report.

Caller: “They were in our courtyard.”
Dispatcher: “OK.”
Caller: “Broke through two doors with magnets to get to the other side of the building to get out.”

Several patients also told police that a black vehicle of an unknown make, model and registration might have picked the four girls up, the report said.

Police said there are no cameras on the exterior of the building to verify the vehicle or if the girls were picked up.

After a search of the area, officers were unable to locate the four girls and issued a child advisory alert for them.

“One of them might be, have family members in the Cleveland area. It’s just, you know, obviously, parents are concerned. We’re concerned but, you know, it’s difficult when they don’t want to be found,” Liberty Township Police Chief Toby Meloro said Monday.

“She has not said anything to me about, like, escaping or running away or anything. The last I spoke to her, she was excited for our first visit,” Eaton said Monday.

That visit was supposed to happen on Sunday. Instead, Mays’ family spent the day looking for her.

Eaton said Mays has a number of mental disorders and was three weeks in to her 90-day stay at the facility.

Belmont Pines CEO Lisa Cocca said they were working with police to help find the runaways and bring them back safely. She also said they’re reviewing the incident to determine if there are any improvements they can make.

“I feel like the facility lacked on their responsibilities to keep her safe that they promised me they would do,” Eaton said Monday.

The following is Cocca’s statement released Monday:

Over the weekend, four individuals from our facility left the grounds. We are working with local law enforcement to locate the individuals and bring them back safely.

Due to HIPAA patient privacy laws, I cannot offer any additional comment on specific patients/ residents in our care. We are reviewing the incident to determine if there are any improvements we can make to our facility security procedures.

Belmont Pines Hospital is the largest freestanding children’s behavioral health hospital in Northeast Ohio and Western Pennsylvania. We provide comprehensive behavioral health services to children and adolescents ages 5 through 18. Each of our inpatient, residential and outpatients services are tailored to most appropriately meet the needs of our patients. We are committed to providing high-quality treatment and care to individuals with special, and often complex, mental health needs.”

Lisa Cocca, CEO of Belmont Pines Hospital

A police report said this is the second time that Williams has escaped from Belmont Pines this week.

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