Authorities continue search for escaped mental health patient

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RUTLAND, Vt. (WCAX) More than 24 hours after a mental health patient took off from a Rutland hospital, authorities continue their search.

Robert Ettori

"We found a blanket in the front yard that we thought he possibly could have used overnight," said Rutland Police Sgt. Jon Dickerson.

Police say they continue to find signs that Robert Ettori is still nearby his Rutland home. They started to look for the 20-year-old on Wednesday after he allegedly fled from Rutland Regional Medical Center. Authorities say he was committed there for a psychological evaluation and that he is mentally ill.

"Somebody saw him with a skateboard," Sgt. Dickerson said. On Thursday police received numerous tips about sightings, but had no luck finding him by mid-afternoon. But overnight they believe he took a few items after breaking into a home where he used to live and grew up. It's not far from the hospital. "He has eaten, he has clothing, he has a backpack."

The reports are improvements from Ettori's situation when he was last scene Wednesday morning, wearing only boxer shorts as he ran into the woods from the hospital. Rutland Regional Medical Center officials say he "eloped" after a tussle with staff while being transported to an in-patient area from the emergency department. "Staff were injured in this, and were treated as a result," said the hospital's Tom Huebner.

The hospital says staff did not do anything improper, but they are now reviewing protocols. "What would be in the best interest of this patient, first and foremost, is to return and get the care that they need," Huebner said.

Ettori's former neighbor, Dave Engels, along with many of Ettori's family and friends feel the same way. "I've known him since he was a little kid," Engels said. "I really am hoping that he's safe, and that he knows how many people are behind him."

Authorities say they are concerned Ettori could harm himself or others. They are also worried about him spending the night out in freezing temperatures. They are asking anyone that sees him to contact police.