Escaped killer back in custody at San Antonio State Hospital

Gary Ligon, 62, found walking along South Side street early Tuesday

By Katrina Webber - Crime Fighters Reporter

SAN ANTONIO - Gary Ligon, a killer who walked off the property of the San Antonio State Hospital Sunday morning, is now back in custody.

San Antonio police said officers found the 62 year old around 9:15 a.m. Tuesday, walking in the 8200 block of City Base Landing -- about two miles from the hospital.

Ligon, who was found mentally incompetent after killing and dismembering his wife, Becky, in Kerr County in 1990, had been confined to the facility. 

Although a spokeswoman with the Texas Department of Health Services refused to identify Ligon by name, she did confirm that a patient had simply walked away from the hospital at some time after 10 a.m. Sunday.

Christine Mann said staff members at the hospital are not trained to physically detain a patient who is leaving the campus, but they do try to verbally coax them to return. She said the workers did attempt to do that in this case. The patient, however, left the campus anyway.

She said staff members then notified SAPD, who conducted a search for Ligon.

According to Kerr County Sheriff Rusty Hierholzer, who originally arrested Ligon about two decades ago, this was the killer’s second time leaving the hospital without authorization.  Hierholzer said in the wake of this latest escape, he had received numerous phone calls from relatives of the murder victim.

Meanwhile, at an apartment complex across the street from the hospital, residents said no one had told them anything.

"We didn't get notified at all. That's concerning. And one reason I'm concerned is a lot of kids stay in this neighborhood,” said Darrin Rogers, Jr.   "I feel like if you have a high security risk that gets out, you got to, at least, let us know. We live across the street."

Neighbor Chris Mosley echoed his sentiments. He said he feels as though he and his family unknowingly were in danger.

“Stuff like that, they need to involve us,” Mosley said. “We can be out here chilling, talking and he comes up. We wouldn’t even know.”

Mann said as per her department’s policy, hospital staff members do not notify area residents of an “unauthorized departure.” Instead, they leave that to local law enforcement officers.

She said, generally speaking, there are different levels of security that can be assigned to patients, such as one-on-one monitoring, based on their determined flight risk.

She said in this case, there was “no indication of a desire to leave” the property, even though Ligon had escaped in the past.

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