by John R. Fischer
, Senior Reporter | July 25, 2022
Two patients at a suburban hospital in Illinois were reported missing on two separate occasions after walking out of the facility alone in the same week, with one later dying.
Michelle Riechers, 61, was reported missing on July 18 and found several hours later, unresponsive in a pond on the south end of Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital in Barrington. CPR attempts to revive her were unsuccessful, and she was pronounced dead a short time later. Another patient, Daniel Spears, 35, went missing on July 19 and was found the next day, reported NBC 5 Chicago
Riechers was reported missing Monday evening after walking out of the emergency room without being discharged. She suffered from Huntington’s Disease, and there were concerns about her mental state.
Authorities were alerted at 7:15 p.m. “It was a very large search. We had a number of deputies — one of the canines as well as drone pilots and drones flying the area,” Deputy Chief Chris Covelli told NBC 5 Chicago.
The K-9 led deputies to the retention pond where a drone was deployed and located her. Authorities say it looks like there was no foul play but are investigating.
The hospital is working with police and referred all inquiries to the Lake County Sheriff’s Department. "We are deeply saddened by this tragedy, and our hearts go out to this individual’s loved ones. Out of respect for the family's privacy, we will not be sharing further details at this time,” it said in a statement to NBC 5 Chicago.
Authorities issued a second alert Tuesday into the whereabouts of Spears, who also walked out of the hospital. He was located Wednesday afternoon in Fox River Grove.
“He did nothing wrong. We just want to get him the treatment he needs,” said Covelli.
An investigation into how he went missing is also underway, and the hospital is cooperating with authorities on this matter as well. "We are grateful for the partnership of our local first responders, and we are relieved that the individual was found safe. Out of respect for patient privacy, we are unable to share details and refer all inquiries to the Lake County Sheriff’s Department.”