Police call for assistance in locating escaped mental health patients

  • Waikato/Bay of Plenty

Police are searching for two men who escaped from a mental health facility in the Waikato district on Monday night.

The two men were patients at the Henry Rongomau Bennett Centre on Selwyn Road and according to the police statement, both were seen scaling a fence at the centre and fleeing down Selwyn Street.

According to Senior Sergeant O’Reilly of the Waikato District Command Centre, 28 year old Benjamin Thomas Manuel and 21 year old Morgan Hamiora Smith had intentions to hitch-hike out of the City overnight, possibly heading to Thames. These were reports given to police from members of the public who had encountered them.

He says, ‘"Both are known to have contacts throughout the Waikato and Bay of Plenty with Manuel having links to the Whakatäne, Kawerau and Tokoroa areas.Advice from medical staff suggest neither man poses specific risk to the public however both have a history of violence and Police advise the public not to approach them but to ring 111 if they are seen."

Police are calling on the public for assistance in locating the two individuals.