State hospital psychiatric patient in custody after leaving outing in Alton Baker Park

Lane County Sheriff's Office
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A 39-year-old Oregon State Hospital Junction City campus psychiatric patient who ran from an outing in Eugene is in police custody.

Thaddeus Ziemlak ran from an outing Thursday afternoon at Alton Baker Park, the Oregon Health Authority said in a news release.

Lane County Sheriff's Office deputies and Oregon State Police troopers took Ziemlak into custody Friday morning, a sheriff's office spokesperson confirmed.

Ziemlak was trying to hitchhike on Highway 126 around Veneta, and someone called police after seeing him, Sgt. Thomas Speldrich said.

Deputies and troopers responded, found Ziemlak and took him into custody, Speldrich said.

Ziemlak was revoked from Lane County to the Salem campus of Oregon State Hospital in February 2020 and transferred to the Junction Campus in November 2021. He was found guilty except for insanity on the charge of murder with a firearm.

Oregon State Hospital staff members assigned to escort Ziemlak lost sight of him in Alton Baker Park when he ran away from staff, who saw him on the Willamette River Bridge heading toward downtown Eugene.

Two Oregon State Hospital mental health security technicians were dispatched to search the area of downtown Eugene. Eugene police were notified at 4:26 p.m. and Oregon State Police were notified at 4.29 p.m. At 4:40 p.m., a warrant unauthorized departure was issued.

This article originally appeared on Register-Guard: Oregon hospital psychiatric patient in custody after running away