Mom of Hospital Escapee: 'Terrified for the Community'

Texas man found not guilty by reason of insanity of killing his dad escapes from North Texas hospital
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 30, 2022 11:52 AM CDT
Hospital Prison Escapee Has Community on Edge
Alexander Ervin.   (Altus Police Department, via KXAN)

(Newser) – A Texas man acquitted eight years ago of murdering his father by reason of insanity has fled the hospital where he was being held, and his mom says she's "terrified" for him, their family, and the community at large. "I never, ever imagined that he would ever be able to escape" from the maximum-security North Texas State Hospital in Vernon, Leslie Ervin tells KXAN of her son, 29-year-old Alexander Ervin. Surveillance video shows Ervin scaling a section of 8-foot security fence about 9pm Sunday to escape the grounds. Alexander Ervin was found not guilty in 2014 of killing his father, 58-year-old Ray Scott Ervin, the previous year.

Alexander Ervin's brother told the jury his sibling had attacked their dad with a pipe wrench and folding knife, insisting the older Ervin was an imposter and that he, Alexander Ervin, was a trained CIA agent sent to take him out, per the Austin American-Statesman. Alexander Ervin maintained the attack had been self-defense and that he didn't remember things the way his brother did. He was committed to the hospital near the Oklahoma border after his insanity plea and acquittal. The state's Department of Health and Human Services, which oversees the hospital, isn't positively identifying Ervin as an escapee, citing privacy laws, with a spokesperson simply acknowledging to KXAN that anytime there's an "unauthorized departure" from the facility, police are immediately notified.

Leslie Ervin tells the media outlet that her son has attended survival training camp and that he may be capable of living off the grid. "He could disappear for a while if he found a source of water," she says. Alexander Ervin, bald and sporting a mustache, is said to be between 5 foot 8 and 6 feet tall, weighs about 200 pounds, and was last seen wearing a black shirt, gray hoodie, tan pants, and black shoes. Police, who say they're doing a comprehensive search in the area, note that Ervin is considered armed and dangerous and that anyone who spots him should call 911. "When [Ervin] is on his medication ... he's a sweetheart," his mom says. "When he's off his meds, all bets are off." (Read more escape stories.)

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