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Arrest warrant issued for examiner accused of taking patient from state hospital without permission

By ArkansasOnline Staff and Wire Reports

This article was originally published March 20, 2018 at 4:24 p.m. Updated March 21, 2018 at 4:51 p.m.

from-left-michelle-messer-and-cory-kristopher-chapin

From left, Michelle Messer and Cory Kristopher Chapin


4 P.M. WEDNESDAY UPDATE:

An arrest warrant has been issued for a psychological examiner accused of taking a patient from the Arkansas State Hospital without permission, the Associated Press reported.

In court records filed Wednesday, the hospital's police chief stated that 41-year-old Michelle Messer aided an unauthorized departure, a misdemeanor. The agency has said she took 46-year-old Cory Chapin from the hospital Tuesday.

Chapin was found innocent by reason of mental disease or defect after being accused of attempted kidnapping and other charges. He said God had told him to kidnap a woman who had cut his hair. A doctor said Chapin, without treatment, posed a "moderate risk" for violence.

Chapin had escaped before, leaving Arkansas in 2016 while on a 48-hour leave. He was found in Las Vegas in 2017.

The agency says it will fire Messer.

Marci Manley, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Human Services, said more information about Messer cannot be released without notifying her due to requirements from the Freedom of Information Act.

According to the department's website, Messer was a psychological examiner for forensics at the hospital, though a Tuesday news release from the Arkansas State Hospital Police Department referred to her as a psychologist.

She reportedly graduated from the University of Arkansas in 1998 and earned a master's degree in clinical psychology from Argosy University in Atlanta in 2002. She is licensed as an independent psychological examiner by the Arkansas Psychology Board, according to the department.

Her interests include intellectual and developmental disabilities, behavioral management, treatment for individuals with dual diagnosis and parapsychology, the study of paranormal and psychic phenomena, the site states.

Read Thursday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.

—The Associated Press and Rachel Herzog

1 P.M. WEDNESDAY UPDATE:

The Arkansas State Hospital Police Department on Wednesday released more detailed descriptions and photos of a psychologist and the patient she took from the facility without authorization Tuesday.

Michelle Messer, a 41-year-old psychologist, was seen in security footage using her access to the hospital's forensic unit to walk 46-year-old Cory Kristopher Chapin out of the building, which is located at 305 S. Palm St. in Little Rock.

Messer is described as standing about 5 feet 2 inches and weighing around 130 pounds, with brown hair and hazel eyes. Authorities said Chapin stands about 5 feet 6 inches, weighs around 187 pounds and has brown hair and brown eyes.

This information has been released to state law enforcement, Arkansas State Hospital Police Chief Perry Wyse said.

—Rachel Herzog

TUESDAY STORY:

Authorities are trying to locate an Arkansas State Hospital psychologist who took a patient from the facility without authorization Tuesday.

The Arkansas Department of Human Services said surveillance footage shows the staff member, later identified as Michelle Messer, used her access to the hospital's forensic unit to reach 46-year-old Cory Chapin, walk him out of the facility and drive off in her car about 8:20 a.m.

The Arkansas State Hospital Police Department is leading the search, and state law enforcement agencies have been advised to be on the lookout, department spokeswoman Marci Manley said.

Messer, a Sherwood resident, was described as a white woman driving a blue Mazda Grand Touring with a license plate number of 502RBD.

The facility is located at 305 S. Palm St. in Little Rock. The DHS website states the hospital's 24-bed forensic service area assesses and treats patients with mental illnesses who are accused of a crime. According to the site, all people in the unit have been ordered by a court to undergo evaluation or treatment.

Court records show Chapin was acquitted of multiple charges — including attempted kidnapping — in 2015 by reason of mental disease or deficit.

A report filed by a psychiatrist from the State Hospital in 2015 states that Eureka Springs officers responded to Lake Leatherwood Park on Sept. 25, 2014, where Chapin was arrested after he was found with his father's vehicle as well as handcuffs, machetes and drugs.

He later told authorities that God had told him to kidnap and rape an Arkansas woman who had cut his hair. The doctor noted that Chapin remains affected by bipolar disorder and that the risk assessment "indicates he is a moderate risk for future violence without treatment."

He also escaped from state custody while on a 48-hour pass with his father in 2016, according to an order revoking his conditional release. He was found in Las Vegas in October 2017 and extradited to the hospital a month later, records state.

Messer will be fired once located, according to a news release.

—Jillian Kremer and Rachel Herzog

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Comments on: Arrest warrant issued for examiner accused of taking patient from state hospital without permission

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Displaying 1 - 5 of 5 total comments

Trailop says... March 21, 2018 at 2:33 p.m.

She was going to bring him back after a little more intense personal therapy I'm sure.

( | suggest removal )

guntersmith says... March 21, 2018 at 5:55 p.m.

She makes all psych examiners look bad. Sheesh, woman.

( | suggest removal )

skeptic1 says... March 21, 2018 at 8:57 p.m.

Big whoop...DHS kidnaps perfectly safe and healthy children every day, when is someone going to take that seriously?

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Vickie55 says... March 21, 2018 at 9:47 p.m.

It is possible he was able to force her to get him out

( | suggest removal )

WillBeararms says... March 21, 2018 at 11:17 p.m.

Why wasn't Chapin sent to Cummins or Tucker after the first escape in 2016? Why is it only average working people are held to any legal standards anymore? This guy gamed the system. It would be interesting to see how wealthy his family is. Now the rest of us are in danger due to this incompetency. This seems to be a common theme these days.

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