COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - A father said Thursday he is shocked his daughter was able to escape her mental health facility and that staff did not notice she was gone for hours.
Kenneth Christiansen's daughter Brianna Christiansen, 14, was receiving treatment at Cedar Springs Hospital for trauma and thoughts about suicide.
On Monday Brianna said she and her 15-year-old friend made a plan to escape. They executed it on Tuesday.
"We put clothes and stuff under our blankets to make it look like we were there, and then we grabbed our stuff and went out the back door," said Brianna. "The staff weren't looking and they were busy."
The two walked 15 miles. Brianna's friend took them to an acquaintance's home.
"The guy whose house we were at, first of all he had a gun," said Brianna. "I was worried for my friend because I didn't want her to get hurt or anything and I didn't want to get hurt myself of course."
Kenneth got a phone call from Cedar Springs Hospital at 11:30 p.m. that Brianna was missing. Brianna said she escaped around 7:30 p.m.
"Over three hours went by without them noticing two girls were gone," said Kenneth.
Brianna called her mother at 1:30 a.m. Wednesday. Her parents had been scouring the neighborhoods around the hospital and drove to pick her up.
"She came clean and said, 'Yes my friend is still up there with an adult male.' So, of course we were concerned, so we went upstairs and banged on the door," said Kenneth. "The guy finally opened the door. He didn't have a shirt on and he said the other girl was back getting dressed, and then the police went in and shut the door."
KRDO NewsChannel 13 contacted Cedar Springs Hospital multiple times by phone, as well as in person. No one returned requests for an interview.
"Who knows what would have happened to her had the police not gotten involved," said Kenneth.
Kenneth said the incident shed light on problems with the state's mental health system.
Way too many patients, not enough staff and it's almost impossible to do your job," said Kenneth.
Kenneth said Brianna has made progress during her stay at Cedar Springs Hospital. He is disappointed Brianna will no longer be a patient at the facility.
"Our insurance company, I don't have an exact number, but has paid over $50,000 for the over two months she has been in there and now because of their failure we had to pull her out," said Kenneth.