Janesville police accept blame for missing suspect
Anyone with information about where to find Omar Tavizon-Ramos, 21, of Janesville can call police at (608) 755-3100, Janesville Area CrimeStoppers at (608) 756-3636 or text information to 274637. Start the text message with JACS and then the message.
JANESVILLE Janesville police decided not to guard a hospitalized man accused of killing two people in an alcohol-related crash because they thought his injuries would prevent him from fleeing.
Deputy Chief Dan Davis said the police department accepts some blame after Omar Tavizon-Ramos, 21, of Janesville left University Hospital, Madison, in a wheelchair when he should have been in police custody.
"You take your best guess at the flight risk," Davis said. "Quite frankly, the system that we had was obviously not adequate."
Tavizon-Ramos is accused of killing Jeffery S. Bauer, 19, of Janesville and his grandmother, Margaret Worden, 61, of Janesville after a crash Easter morning at Racine Street and Center Avenue.
Warrants have been requested to arrest Tavizon-Ramos for two charges of homicide by intoxicated use of a vehicle. The Rock County District Attorney's Office has not filed charges against Tavizon-Ramos.
Tavizon-Ramos left the hospital at 10 p.m. Monday, the same day the hospital told police to make arrangements to pick up Tavizon-Ramos because he was ready to be released, Davis said.
Tavizon-Ramos went outside in a wheelchair to get some air, despite hospital security telling nurses not to allow him out, Davis said. Tavizon-Ramos then boarded a bus.
A hospital employee saw Tavizon-Ramos on the bus with a hospital wheelchair and reported it via cell phone to see if a patient was missing, Davis said. Tavizon-Ramos then got off the bus at Hamilton and Johnson streets in Madison.
Toni Morrissey of University Hospital said law enforcement agencies are responsible for patients they want in custody. She said they must have an officer guard patients to prevent them from fleeing.
"Patients who have been arrested are under the jurisdiction and supervision of the law-enforcement agency that arrested them," according to a prepared statement from University Hospital.
"Patients who are not under arrest but who come to a hospital for treatment may not be legally detained by the hospital staff; the hospital has no legal authority to detain, for police, patients who are not under arrest. They are free to leave the facility if they wish."
Agencies that decide not to guard patients must sign a waiver stating they understand the hospital does not hold patients, Morrissey said. Instead, the hospital will call law enforcement if patients leave or are ready to be released.
"Patients in general can come and go as they please," she said. "They can leave against medical recommendation. They can walk out of the hospital."
Davis said flight risk, manpower, public safety and other factors are considered when deciding whether to guard a patient.
"In hindsight, we could have periodically checked with the hospital to say, 'OK, what is his condition now?'" Davis said. "It just didn't seem likely that he would depart."
Police are calling Tavizon-Ramos' friends and family members to find him, Davis said, and they're unsure whether the escape was planned.
"It may have been an opportunity taken advantage of or it may have been planned," Davis said. "We don't know."
Tavizon-Ramos is 6 feet tall, weighs 150 pounds, has brown hair and brown eyes and was last seen wearing blue plaid shorts and a gray "BUM" hooded sweatshirt. He has limited mobility because of a cast for his leg injury.