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He warned hospital staff his brother was a 'flight risk'. Then his brother escaped.

He warned hospital staff his brother was a 'flight risk'. Then his brother escaped.
Posted at 5:02 PM, Mar 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-08 17:30:32-05

DINWIDDIE COUNTY, Va. -- For the second time in less than three years, a resident at Central State Hospital has escaped. His family, concerned for his and other patients' well-being, is searching for solutions.

"Zach's not a violent person. He would give the shirt off his back to anybody if they asked. He's a really good guy," Matthew Oakey, Zachery Oakey's older brother, said.

Matthew cares deeply for his younger brother Zach, admitting that his brother faces mental health challenges.

"He also has paranoid schizophrenia so he has really serious issues," Matthew said.

Zach has spent time in jail and at Central State Hospital in Dinwiddie.

"The hope for him going to the State Hospital was for him to get some help he needs so he can live some resemblance of a normal life. It wouldn't be like everybody else but it would be something when he could be productive to society," Matthew said.

The brothers grew up in Short Pump and Chesterfield County.

He warned hospital staff his brother was a 'flight risk'. Then his brother escaped.

"A lot of these challenges he faces are not his problem. It's something that he gave to himself, it is just how he was born," Matthew said.

Back in 2013, CBS6 first reported on Zach when Henrico County Police arrested the then 19-year-old for stealing an ambulance from the Tuckahoe Volunteer Rescue Squad.

In 2019, Zach walked away from Central State Hospital, stole a pickup truck from a business and drove to Ohio.

Just last week, he walked away again, broke into the same business and stole another truck.

Zach is expected to be extradited back to Dinwiddie County on Friday on charges including escape, theft of a vehicle and trespassing.

Matthew said just weeks before this incident, something worrying happened.

"I had a kind of confusing phone call with Zach," Matthew said.

Matthew said after that phone call, he tried to warn the staff at the hospital.

"From what we could tell, they were not really taking away his privileges or restricting him in any way and that kinda bothered us because we thought, why is he walking to work in two different buildings by himself when we think he's a flight risk," Matthew said. "So it's very disappointing to find out that it was just, in my opinion, wasn't taken seriously, what we told them," Matthew said.

Last November, Richard Wilson Garrett walked away from Central State.

Back in 2018, Senator Creigh Deeds described Central State Hospital as "out of date, it's held together with duct tape." He went on to say "in my view, both staff and patients are endangered with the way it's put together."

Matthew said the reason he is coming forward with his concerns is to try and get changes at Central State.

He warned hospital staff his brother was a 'flight risk'. Then his brother escaped.

"The only reason I was willing to do this interview was to somehow bring awareness to how this could have been 100% preventable if they listened to the family," Matthew said. "I think the policies need to be changed to not only help Zach but help future people who might be there."

CBS6 Problem Solvers reached out to the Department of Behavioral Health which oversees Central State. They shared the following statement:

The teams are grateful to have input from families and they are often valuable treatment partners. But if someone demonstrates a period of success on a restricted level, they can elevate to a higher level.