Chief defends mental patient release process

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Connecticut’s mental health commissioner says she’s satisfied with her agency’s process for determining whether mentally ill young adults are healthy enough to leave state respite programs for home visits or other outings.

Pat Rehmer’s comments to The Associated Press come in the wake of the Dec. 26 death of Margaret Rohner, of Deep River. She was killed by her 23-year-old son Robert Rankin, who was picked up from a voluntary Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services respite program by Rohner’s former husband.

Rehmer couldn’t confirm Rankin was a client but said clinicians have no problem telling a young person he or she should stay at the facility if there are serious concerns.

Rankin told police he killed his mother. He’s been diagnosed with a form of schizophrenia.

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