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Community leaders looking into Beacon Services

Updated: Friday, November 8, 2013 |
Community leaders looking into Beacon Services story image
KALAMAZOO, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - Less than a week after an admitted killer walked away from the adult foster care facility where he was being treated, community leaders are taking a close look at the case.

Newschannel 3 broke the news on Sunday, hours after police say Stephen Lenich left Beacon Residential Services without his schizophrenia medication, which officers say could make him extremely dangerous.

In 2000, Lenich admitted to beating his grandfather to death and his grandmother unconscious, but he was put under psychiatric care instead of going to prison.

Kalamazoo Public Safety tells Newschannel 3 that even though Lenich was found, they're now reviewing the case with the other agencies involved, and say it's their chance to improve down the road.

Because limited information can be released when it comes to patient care, KDPS invited Community Mental Health and Beacon Services to talk about the best way to inform the community if someone goes missing.

Lenich was picked up by a state trooper on Sprinkle Road, miles away from his foster care home, 17 hours after he didn't return.

We have now learned that Lenich was allowed to come and go from Beacon Services without supervision, after he was ordered to treatment in the halfway house by a probate judge.

KDPS says they wouldn't have handled the situation any differently, but it has also opened up some new questions.

"What could we do better? Can we meet the needs of the consumer and meet the needs of those that live in the facility? Who should be notified when this happens? All of those things need to be talked about," said KDPS Chief Jeff Hadley.

We did reach out to Beacon Services for comment on the upcoming meeting, but we haven't heard back yet.

They did say earlier this week that, "our staff immediately alerts appropriate officials and follows safety protocols when a resident does not comply with their rules."

As of now, the meeting is scheduled for Tuesday.
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