A man with both autism and mental illness, who was denied a passport last month to travel to Mexico, is apparently missing after he was allowed to leave his group home Tuesday night. He had reportedly purchased an airline ticket to Texas.
Kris Myerson, the mother of the 30-year-old man, Kaleb Light-Gaudinier, has put up missing posters and contacted the police in Hadley where her son’s group home is located. The group home is run by ServiceNet, a Department of Mental Health provider.
Myerson, who has been at odds with DMH and the Department of Developmental Services over their supervision of her son, is worried that her son may be harmed because he lacks the capacity to function on his own. He receives services from both DMH and DDS.
Myerson said she considers both DMH and DDS and ServiceNet to be negligent in failing to keep her son from purchasing the airline ticket, apparently with his Social Security funds, and leaving the group home unsupervised. “They (DMH) have been reassuring us that they were prioritizing his safety,” Myerson said. “How is it safe to let a person on the autism spectrum and with severe mental illness get on a plane by himself to an unknown destination?”
DMH and DDS officials have told Myerson that they cannot interfere with Light-Gaudinier’s travel plans because he is an adult and had been found competent to make his own decisions. It is not clear that either department has evaluated his functional capacity, although he is considered disabled enough to require services in a group home with 24-hour care.
The man had been on probation in connection with an incident a number of years ago in which he bit a police officer’s finger; but that probation period ended on Wednesday. As of last month, he had been planning to travel to Cancun, Mexico, but the State Department denied him a passport for that trip.
Myerson had expressed strong concerns about her son’s planned trip to Mexico. He had said he planned to meet in Cancun with unknown persons he had met while playing an online video game.
Myerson said her son had also been talking about leaving his group home and traveling either to Texas, California, or Florida. She said she now has no idea where her son is or whether he is safe.
Meanwhile, Myerson said she understands ServiceNet is continuing to hold her son’s room at his group home. She said she suspects the provider agency will charge him rent indefinitely out of his Social Security funds.