BELLEVILLE, IL (KTVI) – For the second time in less than two months, a resident disappears from a Belleville nursing home; leaving without the staff knowing.
The good news is that 58 year old Joseph Childs was found safe after a search that lasted more than two hours.
But there are still many questions surrounding how Childs was able to leave without anyone knowing at the Midwest Rehabilitation and Respiratory Center in Belleville.
Investigators say he disappeared sometime between 6:15 and 6:45 this morning.
Belleville police were notified right around 6:45am.
They immediately started searching for Childs who has several medical conditions and needs medication.
Metro was notified because Childs was known to use that system.
Shortly before nine this morning, a Metro employee called Midwest saying Childs was at the Flying J truck stop in Alorton.
He was found there and was returned safe to the facility.
This episode comes less than two months after 75 year old Aubrey Giles was able to wander away from Midwest Rehab in mid-January.
He was found dead two days later in a creek bed.
Investigators call it troubling that another person was able to leave the facility without anyone knowing after what happened to Giles.
‘Certainly it`s frustrating that this has happened again so quickly on the heels of the Giles tragedy from a few months ago. Certainly we`re concerned and, you know, we will be contacting the regulatory agencies that oversee Midwest rehab,’ said Detective Mark Heffernan with Belleville Police.
Steve Feigenbaum, the Regional Director of Operations at Midwest, refused to go on camera with us.
He only provided a short statement which read ‘We conduct continuous quality assurance drills announced and unannounced and the residents are 100 percent safe.’
A spokeswoman for the Department of Public Health, Melanie Arnold said state inspectors were at Midwest Rehab on Monday and again Tuesday afternoon for a “re-visit” following the disappearance and death by exposure of 77 year old Aubrey Giles in January.
“Midwest Rehab is currently listed as ‘out of compliance as of the last state survey’, ” she said. In the case of Mr. Giles, an alarm did not sound when he opened a door and left the center on a Saturday in January. Arnold said the nursing home had submitted a plan to correct problems identified by state inspectors.
Investigators aren`t sure how Childs got out.
No criminal charges from Belleville Police are pending in either this case of the Giles incident.