SIMULATION: John Balentine, a patient in the psychiatric ward at State Hospital West, has escaped and is at large in Logan.

Balentine was committed to the hospital after his insanity plea in the 2011 murder trial of local business owner Evan Graves.

The patient was reported missing as hospital employees made their 8 a.m. rounds. An internal investigation was unable to find the patient.

Post-traumatic stress disorder specialist Constance Peterson did not report for work Friday morning. Social services worker Tom Pong said that he was notified of Peterson’s absence at 11 a.m.

“We went to her apartment and we found her four-month-old daughter,” Pong said. “We just want to send a message to her: We’ve got your daughter. Where are you?”

John Edwards, hospital director, suspects that Peterson’s absence and Balentine’s disappearance may be connected.

“Constance is always very punctual, so it’s an odd situation,” Edwards said. “We’re using the current tools we have. We haven’t involved any external agencies.”

Lieutenant Brad Franke of the Logan Police Department confirmed that Balentine had been seen in Logan and is a primary suspect in a criminal homicide investigation at 600 W., 400 North.

Balentine was interviewed by KAGG-TV on Utah State University campus at noon.

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