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Custody issue briefly locks down Lutheran

February 6, 2019 GMT

An unclear child custody situation put Lutheran Hospital on what was termed a lockdown for about an hour Tuesday morning. 

According to a statement from Fort Wayne police, a hospital security staff official called police after concern was raised by a mother that her son, 3, had been taken from the hospital by someone who had visitation rights but did not have custody of him. 

The statement said the woman has a protective order against the person, but the children do not. All names, and substantial portions of the report, were redacted by police.

The lockdown was called because hospital staff did not know if the situation was a child abduction and believed the person with the child could still be on the premises, the police statement said.

Geoff Thomas, hospital spokesman, said a lockdown at Lutheran does not mean that no one could enter or leave the hospital in southwest Fort Wayne.

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Instead, a lockdown means visitors were directed to enter and exit through the emergency room walk-up doors near the security desk, he said in an email. 

“The lockdown lasted approximately an hour as the situation was assessed,” the email said.

The police statement said the boy had been in the hospital for several days, and the person who left with him had visited several times, according to the child’s mother. 

The boy was due to be discharged Tuesday, the police statement said. But staff was concerned because no discharge instructions had been issued for the child, the statement said.

The child’s mother “did not believe (her son) was in any danger” from the person who left with him, the statement said. She was advised to seek protective orders for the boy and her two other children, according to the statement. 

No Amber Alert was needed to be issued, the statement said. The officers cleared the scene shortly after 11:30 a.m.

Police on Tuesday afternoon did not provide further information on the whereabouts of the child. 

rsalter@jg.net