Neighbors and law enforcement express concern after psychiatric patient with criminal history in Carroll County escapes from Dinwiddie hospital

DINWIDDIE COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) – A patient who lived in Carroll County with a history of aggressive behavior is still at large after escaping from a mental hospital in Dinwiddie on Tuesday afternoon.

Now those who live in Dinwiddie are on edge, hoping the authorities find him.

“Anytime someone leaves under these circumstances there is a problem,” Major William Knott of the Dinwiddie County Sheriff’s Office told WFXR’s sister station, WRIC, in an interview on Wednesday, November 24.

Richard Wilson Garrett did not use any force, but ran away from staff around 2:20 p.m. on Tuesday, November 23, just before he was put in a van to be taken to another building. He was in a building where classes are held on the campus of the State Central Hospital, before being returned to the building he lives in.

Hospital staff attempted to arrest him and return him to the van, but to no avail. Sheriff’s Deputies, Virginia State Police, Conservation Police Game Warden and Colonial Heights K9 Unit all helped search for him.

Trying to locate him, Knott says authorities found some clothes. While officials aren’t sure if the items belong to Garrett, Knott says the items could have been his.

Authorities continued to try to locate Garrett on Wednesday, Knott said.

Knott says it’s worrying that Garrett escaped, especially knowing his criminal history.

“There were accusations of assault on the police, escaping the police, so from the point of view of the police it is worrying,” he said.

Emerald Hammond’s grandmother lives right across from Central State Hospital.

“I watched his story and I’m afraid he might hurt someone else,” Hammond told sister station WFXR.

Knott has confirmed that Garrett was in the hospital after being found not guilty by reason of insanity in Carroll County. Garrett was originally in another mental hospital somewhere in Virginia, then transferred to Dinwiddie.

“He had previously lived in the Hillsville area and was charged in that area before being institutionalized,” Knott said.

Since Garrett has been in Dinwiddie, Knott says Garrett has been charged with assault.

According to Knott, this is not the first time this has happened. There have been other escapees from the state central hospital that authorities have reportedly captured in other parts of the country.

Hammond, whose grandmother worked for the hospital for two decades, agreed.

“When she was working there she would back out of her driveway and she said she was looking and there were three people from Central State sitting on her porch and it was probably like in the 90s,” said Hammond said. “And she said they asked her, ‘Hey, can I stay with you? “”

Garrett is described as being 5’11 ” tall and 165 pounds. He was last seen wearing a black jacket and black beanie.

Knott asks the audience not to confront Garrett if he sees him. Instead, call the Dinwiddie Sheriff’s Office or local law enforcement.

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