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Beacon Services declines on-camera interview, but offers statement

Updated: Wednesday, November 6, 2013 |
Beacon Services declines on-camera interview, but offers statement story image
KALAMAZOO, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - Concerns from neighbors prompted Newschannel 3 to dig deeper into patient care at beacon services, an adult care facility nestled in a residential neighborhood here in Kalamazoo.

Beacon is also where admitted murderer Stephen Lenich, who is being treated for schizophrenia, lives.

“Very scared, didn't know these kinds of dangerous people lived 3 doors down,” said neighbor Christy Charles.

The reaction from neighbors came after we told them the 32-year-old was found walking on Sprinkle Road Sunday night, more than 12 hours after he walked away from Beacon without medication that police say keeps him from acting erratic and unpredictable.

"If they are moving toward a break and not taking meds appropriately, and they are more ill and more psychotic," said Borgess psychiatrist Mark Kanzawa.

Beacon did tell Newschannel 3 that, "our staff immediately alerts appropriate officials and follows safety protocols when any resident does not comply with their rules."

Its website also promises "caregivers provide 24-hour care to residents with developmental disabilities and/or mental illness in a behavioral health care/adult foster care setting."

The question still remains, how did Lenich walk away unattended?

And now the Department of Human Services is looking for that answer, opening an investigation into what happened.

Records show Beacon was also investigated in 2008, after "residents were found on neighboring properties unattended," and "a resident harmed two others and a staff member," breaking a jaw, cheekbone, and nose.

And in 2002, for not running criminal background checks on two patients.

DHS says they were just at the facility in September to renew their license and didn't find any issues.

They also tell us that based on the patient's treatment plan, some are allowed to be unsupervised for a period of time.

We're unsure if Lenich is one of those patients.

The President of Beacon sent Newschannel 3 a statement on Tuesday, saying "this is a situation where a resident did not report in at the appropriate time, and that the appropriate procedures were followed after that resident did not report."

He says this is not a situation where someone was authorized or allowed to leave the home.
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