By Ingrid Fernandez, Staff Reporter
The Ministry of Health (MoH) issued a press release this week, refuting a young woman’s claim that health officials were irresponsible in notifying her of her mother’s disappearance.
The Ministry says it conducted an investigation to find out how Maritza Castillo, a patient at the Palm Center mental health facility in Belmopan went missing and why her only daughter was not duly informed.
A news story last week brought to light that Castillo had been missing from the inpatient residence, which was once Rockview Hospital, for more than a year, without any notification given to her daughter, Sierra Hodgson, who was adopted and lives in Scoltalnd, United Kingdom.
MoH stated that records indicate that Castillo absconded from the hospital at around 4:20 p.m. on October 2, 2014. They assure that the facility’s protocols were followed.
The facility filed a missing person’s report and informed the Belmopan Police Department. A search was launched from the date until October 16, 2014 with no results.
The institution’s records show that Castillo’s daughter visited her annually. On December 26, 2015 Hodgson came looking for her mother at the Center, as she had done annually, and her mother’s whereabouts could not be provided, leaving her in despair.
According to the report from the MoH, the administration at Palm Center “made several attempts to contact” Castillo’s daughter through social media, to inform her of her mother’s disappearance, to no avail.” The institution claims that it was not provided with a phone number to reach Hodgson.
Hodgson has since left an email and complete mailing address with the hope that she will get to know of her mother’s whereabouts.
The Ministry stated that it “regrets the manner in Which Ms. Hodgson found out about the missing status of her mother but the staff worked and sought the adequate avenues available to them in trying to pass the information in due fashion.”