The suspect in a North Carolina home invasion who police say was hit in the head with a machete wielded by an 11-year-old has been captured two days after he walked out of the hospital.
Jataveon Dashawn Hall left UNC Medical Center in Chapel Hill against medical advice “shortly before 8 p.m. on Friday,” according to the Orange County Sheriff’s Office in North Carolina. He was captured Sunday afternoon.
The process by which Hall left the hospital has come under scrutiny. Hall was transferred to the Chapel Hill hospital from UNC Hospitals Hillsborough Campus, arriving about two hours after the reported break-in in Mebane, North Carolina, WRAL-TV in North Carolina reported.
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According to a Facebook post from OCSO, “Hall had broken into the boy’s home on Yarborough Road, put the boy in a closet, and was in the process of removing electronics from the home when the boy hit him.”
“Hall was only a suspect and there was no legal authority to hold him in custody,” while he was at the Hillsborough hospital, the sheriff’s office said.
By the time of his hospital transfer, Hall had warrants related to the break-in, the sheriff’s office said. Hall’s head was wrapped in a bandage when he walked out of the Chapel Hill hospital Friday night wearing “a hospital gown, blue socks, and carrying what appeared to be a cup of water.”
In a statement to USA TODAY, UNC Health Care said it did not want to “debate” this issue with the sheriff’s office, but contends its nurses and physicians “cannot be both caregivers and law enforcement at the same time.”
“On Friday night, our emergency department was extremely busy taking care of multiple traumas simultaneously,” the hospital said in a statement. “Our nurses and physicians focus 100 percent of their time on providing care to patients – that is their job. It has always been UNC Medical Center’s intent to work closely with OCSO, and we will continue to do so in the future.”
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Hall was captured by sheriff’s deputies in Burlington, North Carolina, at the home of his mother and stepfather, according to a Sunday Facebook post. Burlington police were responding to an anonymous tip Hall was at his mother’s apartment.
Hall is being held at the Orange County Detention Center under $100,000 bond.
“The arrangement all of our area law enforcement agencies have with hospital police of ensuring the eventual arrest of a suspect after the suspect receives medical care, has been in place for decades,” OCSO Chief Jamison Sykes said on Facebook. “I cannot remember another time when it has failed.”
The sheriff’s office said it didn’t learn Hall had left the hospital in Chapel Hill until just after 10 a.m. Saturday.
“Our agency is very concerned about the events in this case,” Sykes said. “Effective immediately, we will institute policy changes necessary to protect the public in situations like this. We expected to be notified prior to Hall’s discharge. When Hall left the hospital Friday evening against medical advice, we certainly should have been notified.
“But most concerning of all is that hospital police did not even know Hall had left the premises almost ten hours prior. Indeed, Hall’s absence was only discovered when we placed a phone call to them.”
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