An accused rapist has escaped from a state-run mental-health facility in Arkansas, according to police.
James Barrett, 34, slipped out of custody at Arkansas State Hospital at some point over the weekend and vanished ahead of a court hearing scheduled for Monday morning, according to Arkansas.com.
The escape left authorities scrambling to track him down, according to Perry Wyse, chief of the Arkansas State Hospital Police Department.
“I’m sitting here with the U.S. Marshal right now,” Wyse told Oxygen.com when reached by phone Monday. “We’re narrowing things down and just trying to catch the guy.”
It was not immediately clear when Barrett escaped, but according to Arkansas.com, dispatch records with the Little Rock Police Department show officers were called to the hospital just after 7 p.m. to investigate a missing person. Wyse emailed the website a statement just before 9 p.m. to confirm that Barrett was missing, according to Arkansas.com.
He was being held at Arkansas State Hospital, where he had been since October, when he was transferred there from Faulkner County Jail, the news website reported.
Barrett was arrested on rape charges in 2015 in Faulkner County, Ark., according to jail records, but details on the case and the reason for his transfer to the mental health facility were not immediately available.
Police described Barrett as standing about 5-feet-9-inches tall, with a medium build, a ponytail, and tattoos on his arms, according to Arkansas.com. He was last seen wearing a white shirt, black pants, and black tennis shoes, the website reported.
Anyone with information about Barrett’s whereabouts is asked to call Arkansas State Hospital Police at (501) 686–9212.
[Photo: Arkansas State Hospital Police Department]