SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) — Questions remain surrounding the escape Sunday of a 16-year-old serving a juvenile life sentence from a Shreveport hospital, including why police were not made aware of the teen’s violent criminal history and potential threat to public safety until two days later.
Shreveport police released an advisory Tuesday that they were looking for Anthony Mandigo, who they believe to be armed and dangerous. Mandigo was serving time in a Louisiana Office of Juvenile Justice facility in South Louisiana for his role in two armed robberies, one of which resulted in the death of Domino’s pizza delivery driver Lester McGee in November 2018.
Because the crimes were committed when Mandigo was 13, he would have been eligible for parole after serving nine months, but he escaped from a central Louisiana juvenile detention facility along with two other detainees in September 2019. They were later captured in East Texas.
Citing privacy laws, neither the OJJ nor the hospital will comment on why Mandigo was at the Shreveport hospital Sunday or whether any additional security measures were in place given his history.
Brentwood Hospital reported the escape just after noon Sunday, shortly after discovering that Mandigo was missing. Police say they were given the name but could not run it for criminal history because he is a juvenile, and privacy laws prohibit the hospital from sharing that information.
State law does allow law enforcement to release identifying information about a child wanted for a felony-grade delinquent act involving a dangerous weapon to assist and in finding and taking that child into custody, however. That is what Shreveport police say they did when they realized who the missing patient was in this case.
The Executive Management Advisor for the Louisiana Office of Juvenile Justice said Wednesday that her office could not speak to why authorities were not notified of Mandigo’s status as a juvenile violent crime detainee because he was not at an OJJ facility when he escaped.
“But when one happens through our secure care facilities, our policy says that we secure the site, secure staff, secure the kids, and then we start the notification of our local law enforcement,” Elizabeth Touchet-Morgan said.
“Due to HIPAA patient privacy laws, we are unable to offer comment on specific patients or their care,” Brentwood Hospital CEO and Managing Director William Weaver said in a statement released Wednesday to KTAL. “I can share that Brentwood Hospital staff promptly reported this issue to law enforcement and to state regulatory agencies. We are cooperating fully in law enforcement’s efforts to bring this individual back safely. Further, we have initiated an internal investigation to determine whether there are any security protocols that can be improved.
“For five decades, Brentwood Hospital has provided compassionate care to tens of thousands of patients, enabling them to live healthier and more productive lives,” Weaver added. “Our most sacred responsibility is and always will be the well-being of our patients. We are committed to our mission of providing high quality treatment programs and services to patients with special, and sometimes complex, mental health needs.”
Police say they are still actively searching for Mandigo.
Anyone with any information is asked to call the Shreveport Police Department at (318) 673-7300 and select option #3. Those who wish to remain anonymous should contact Caddo-Shreveport Crime Stoppers by calling (318) 673-7373.