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Author Topic: Connecticut Valley Hospital Patient Missing Again  (Read 5123 times)
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bleachedblack
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« on: June 03, 2008, 11:55:53 AM »

Connecticut Valley Hospital Patient Missing Again

 June 3, 2008
MIDDLETOWN - A career criminal who was sentenced to the state's maximum security psychiatric unit for 40 years is on the lam for the third time since 2002 and this time, he may have swiped a state van on his way off the Connecticut Valley Hospital campus.

Roy Sastrom, 44, failed to return Saturday from a one-hour pass that allows him to go outside on the grounds by himself.

On Monday, Sastrom, who has a string of convictions for burglary, extortion and threatening, and who fled CVH twice before, was still nowhere to be found, and state officials were defending the decision to grant him a grounds pass. He had been transferred from the maximum security Whiting Forensic Institute to the less restrictive Dutcher Hall. Both facilities are on the sprawling CVH campus.

Sources said a state van is missing, and Wayne Dailey, spokesman for the state Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, confirmed that "we're certainly considering the possibility that he's in the vehicle."

Dailey said Sastrom doesn't have a history of violence and is considered a low-risk patient, despite his history of escapes.

Weighing security against patient privileges, Dailey said, "is always a balancing act."

On Aug. 22, 2006, Sastrom was captured in Bath, Maine, after giving a CVH staff member the slip while on a supervised visit to his mother's house in Bridgeport. Police in Maine said at the time that Sastrom was suspected of breaking into several cars before he admitted to a passing patrol officer that he was an escaped psychiatric patient from Connecticut.

In July 2002, Sastrom ran away from the hospital campus and was found by patrol officers and a police dog hiding in a field off Route 66 near the Middletown-Middlefield line. Sastrom tried to flee and was bitten by the dog. He was treated at Middlesex Hospital and returned to CVH.

Sastrom's criminal history dates from the early 1980s. Records show he was charged with four counts each of threatening, extortion and harassment in 1994. Sastrom was acquitted by reason of mental disease or defect the same year and was committed to the custody of the state Psychiatric Security Review Board for 40 years, according to Ellen Weber, the board's executive director.

Sastrom, once considered a danger to himself or others, was transferred from Whiting to Dutcher in November 2004 for good behavior, records show. Dailey said CVH police on Saturday issued statewide alerts for Sastrom and the state van.

http://www.courant.com/news/local/mr/middletown/hc-ctcvhescape0603.artjun03,0,2227395.story

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« Reply #1 on: June 04, 2008, 11:36:07 PM »



Missing Mental Patient Arrested in Bridgeport

 June 4, 2008
After bolting from Connecticut Valley Hospital over the weekend, escaped psychiatric patient Roy Sastrom is suspected of burglarizing two houses in Ellsworth, Maine, on Monday, and committing an armed bank robbery on Tuesday in Chelmsford, Mass. before being arrested in Connecticut.

Sastrom, with previous escapes in 2002 and 2006, was taken into custody around 11:05 p.m. Tuesday in Bridgeport where his mother lives, said Wayne Dailey, a spokesman for the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services.

Dailey could not immediately say whether Sastrom would return to CVH or prison.

One official said if it's true that Sastrom committed the bank robbery, it may "override" his status as a committed psychiatric patient.

A career criminal who was committed to the maximum-security psychiatric unit for 40 years in the mid-1990s, Sastrom on Saturday had been granted a grounds pass that allowed him to be outside on the CVH campus in Middletown by himself for an hour at a time. With police all over New England and New York on the lookout for Sastrom on Tuesday, state mental health officials said they were reviewing that decision.

Police in Ellsworth, just south of Bangor, responded at 5 p.m. Monday to burglaries at neighboring houses. Both homes were ransacked, said Ellsworth Police Officer Jeremy Cox. A total of $150 in loose change and $65 in cash was stolen, along with a black BB pistol and a slate blue, late-model GMAC pickup truck with a cap on the back and a ladder rack.

Across the street, police found a silver minivan with Connecticut state government plates. Officers learned that the van had been reported stolen. Sastrom, who is believed to have fled the CVH campus in the state van, became the prime suspect in the Ellsworth burglaries. The local press posted a story of the escape and a mug shot of Sastrom that had been sent to Ellsworth police by Connecticut authorities.

Shortly before 1 p.m. Tuesday, 256 miles to the south in Chelmsford, Mass., a Sovereign Bank branch was robbed.

The suspect, with thinning brown hair and a thick mustache, matched the description of the 44-year-old Sastrom. The robber displayed what appeared to be a black pistol and left in a slate blue, late model GMAC pickup truck with a cap on the back, a ladder rack, and Maine license plates.

Witnesses told Chelmsford detectives that the black handgun may have been a fake gun, Cox said.

"That's the thought," Chelmsford Lt. Edward F. Smith said when asked if Sastrom was the suspect. "Detectives are still fleshing it out."

The truck was last seen heading north on I-495.

Between 1981 and the early 1990s, Sastrom racked up at least 22 felony arrests on a string of burglary, larceny and weapons charges.

In 1994, he was charged with four counts each of threatening, extortion and harassment, according to prosecutors in Tolland. Sastrom was acquitted by reason of mental disease or defect that same year and was committed to the custody of the state Psychiatric Security Review Board for 40 years, according to Ellen Weber, the board's executive director. Sastrom, once considered a danger to himself or others, was transferred from CVH's Whiting Forensic Institute to the less restrictive Dutcher Hall in November 2004 for good behavior.

Wayne Dailey, spokesman for the state Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, said Sastrom was considered a low-risk patient, despite the two previous escapes.

"Risk assessments are based on the best information available ... but they aren't flawless," Dailey said Tuesday.

http://www.courant.com/community/news/mr/hc-ctcvhescape0604.artjun04,0,7327672.story
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