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Authorities probe escape of 2 men from mental hospital

WILLIAMSBURG (AP) Authorities in Virginia say they’re trying to figure out how two patients escaped the state’s oldest mental hospital and how to prevent it from happening again.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that police said the men fled Eastern State Hospital outside Williamsburg on Easter Sunday. Virginia State Police said the men were able to escape by damaging an interior wall.

Authorities said that one man was caught in Chesapeake that day, while the second man was caught in Norfolk on April 21.

Lauren Cunningham, a spokeswoman for the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services, said that Eastern State is conducting an internal investigation.

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin had already ordered a security and safety review of Virginia’s nine public mental hospitals. And the prior week, Youngkin had called for more staffing and treatment at state facilities and local community services boards for people with psychiatric disorders.

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