Barrington-area hospital won't explain how 2 patients went missing in 2 days

Officials at Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital near Barrington declined to explain how in two days two patients managed to leave the emergency department and go missing, and one ended up dead.

A 35-year-old Fox River Grove man left the hospital before being discharged Tuesday afternoon but was found by authorities a day later and safely returned to the hospital, officials said.

And on Monday evening, Michelle Riechers, 61, of Lake in the Hills, drowned in the large pond on the hospital campus shortly after she left the emergency department before being discharged.

Officials were concerned about both patients' mental well-being when they went missing.

In a statement Thursday, Kristen Johnson, a spokeswoman for Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital, thanked local first responders for their role in finding the Fox River Grove man and for helping hospital staff and loved ones locate Reichers' body.

When asked for details about how both patients were able to leave the emergency room without being stopped, Johnson declined to answer, saying she would not provide details on what happened out of respect for the patients' and their families' privacy.

Lake County sheriff's Deputy Chief Christopher Covelli said deputies were called to help Tuesday afternoon and learned that there were significant concerns about the Fox River Grove man's mental well-being. Covelli said deputies believe the man was wearing only boxer shorts when he left the hospital and walked for 2 miles. Covelli said deputies believe the man met an acquaintance who helped him get clothes hours after he fled the hospital.

Covelli said deputies worked closely with the man's family and found him Wednesday afternoon in Fox River Grove. Covelli said the man was returned to the hospital by an ambulance.

The man was not charged with a crime, nor is he the suspect in any crime, Covelli said.

“We were only concerned with his well-being and are very happy he is able to get the help needed,” Covelli said.

Reichers left the hospital by herself around 6:55 p.m., officials said. Sheriff's deputies arrived at the hospital at around 7:15 p.m. and joined Reichers' friends and family members to search for her near the hospital, Covelli said.

A police dog tracked Reichers' scent to a large retention pond just south of the hospital. Deputies used a drone to search the surface of the water and found her body around 11:15 p.m., Covelli said.

The Lake County coroner's office performed an autopsy and determined that Reichers died by drowning.

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