1 man at large after escape from psych hospital, VA cops say


Police are still searching for one man who escaped from a Virginia psychiatric hospital on Sunday, April 17, state police say.

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Police are searching for one man, considered “armed and dangerous” who escaped from a Virginia psychiatric hospital on Sunday, April 17, according to Virginia State Police.

Bryant M. Wilkerson, 29, a convicted felon, was still at large as of Monday, April 18, according to Virginia State Police.

Wilkerson escaped along with Austin Preston Leigh, 31, from Eastern State Hospital, a psychiatric hospital in Williamsburg, Virginia, according to a post on the state police Facebook page.

The Chesapeake Police Department arrested Leigh on the afternoon of April 17, according to state police.

Leigh turned himself in at the police department headquarters, a public information officer for the department told McClatchy News. The Chesapeake Police headquarters is about 55 miles south of the hospital.

How the men escaped remains under investigation, a state police spokeswoman told McClatchy News.

Wilkerson was arrested in November 2020 after leading police on a chase from North Carolina to Virginia, according to WAVY TV 10.

Wlkerson robbed a victim at gunpoint in Currituck County, North Carolina, fled the scene and ditched his getaway vehicle before running into the woods, the sheriff’s office told the TV station. Invesitgators said that he later stole a vehicle off the highway at gunpoint and led officers on a chase to Chesapeake, Virginia, where he was arrested.

Wilkerson faced a series of charges, including abduction by force, malicious wounding, grand larceny and use of a firearm in a felony, according to state court records.

Virginia State Police advise anyone who has seen Wilkerson to “immediately call 911 or 757-424-6800.”

Eastern State Hospital, located about 50 miles southeast of Richmond, cares for 300 patients, according to its website.

Madeleine List is a McClatchy National Real-Time reporter. She has reported for the Cape Cod Times and the Providence Journal.

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