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Police seek escapee from Finan psychiatric facility

November 15, 2011
  • Muslim Ali Brunson
Muslim Ali Brunson

Hagerstown police Tuesday were searching for a man who escaped from the Thomas B. Finan Center in Cumberland, Md.

Muslim Ali Brunson, 33, was being sought by Maryland State Police, according to an Hagerstown Police Department news release. He is believed to be in the city area.

Hagerstown Police Chief Arthur Smith said authorities are urging people not to take the law into their own hands.

“We don’t know whether he’s dangerous or not,” Smith said. “That’s why we want to get him off the streets .... He is to be arrested and taken back to the Finan Center.”

The Finan Center is operated by the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. It is a multipurpose psychiatric facility that serves people with mental illnesses.

A state health department spokesman said in an email that the agency doesn’t release the names of patients, but when asked about Brunson, said an “individual” had been recommended for release from the Finan Center by an administrative law judge.

“While the facility waited for (the judge) to sign (the release orders), the individual was housed in the assisted living facility on hospital grounds, where he had permission to move about the grounds,” the email said. “He walked away from the program on (Friday), so the hospital notified police, as is policy.

“The hospital later learned that (the judge) had already signed his release orders prior to his walking away, but notice had not been sent to the hospital. The hospital contacted the police to let them know the judge had signed the order and the patient had not committed felony escape, but was to be returned to the facility on an emergency petition.”

Anyone with information about Brunson may call city police at 301-790-3700.

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— Dan Dearth

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