The family of a man with schizophrenia who fled a mental institution is offering a $500 reward for information leading to a meeting with him.
Graham Lacher fled Dorothea Dix Psychiatric Center in Bangor on June 6 after being taken outside for a walk. There have been no confirmed sightings of Lacher in the three months of her disappearance.
But his mother and legal guardian, Tammy Lacher Scully, from Belfast, kept looking for him.
“It came out a few times that we should just let Graham go, let him enjoy his freedom, etc. I think it stems from a general lack of awareness about mental illness. Schizophrenia is not a lifestyle choice; it’s a disease,” Scully wrote in an email Wednesday. “The public seems to understand that if someone with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease passes away, we don’t say, ‘Well, that’s their choice.’ We realize that they are not able to make healthy choices because of their illness, and we try to find them so that we can help them.
“That’s why we’ll keep looking for him, why we won’t just let him go,” she continued. “We want him to have as much freedom as he can handle – including voices in his head that threaten his life.”
Lacher was previously in a group home in Norridgewock, but moved away in November 2021 and disappeared for a few days before being found in Waterville. He was then placed in the Dorothea Dix Psychiatric Center.
In addition to his diagnosis of schizophrenia, Scully said his son is also on the autism spectrum. Scully has previously said that autism makes Lacher unsocial and that schizophrenia makes him afraid of people.
Scully feels the mental health care system has let Lacher and his family down and is asking for the public’s help in locating him. She said they’ve received reports of potential sightings in the Waterville and Skowhegan area, which Lacher knows well, but isn’t him.
Since his disappearance, Lacher has turned 38. There is no active official investigation or search for his son, according to Scully. Besides Scully and her husband Jack Scully, Lacher’s mother-in-law, Kim Lacher, and volunteers Brandy St. Louis Baron and Robert Kearns are the ones still looking for him.
Bangor Police could not immediately be reached for comment on Wednesday.
“I don’t think the public realizes that we’re the only ones actively looking for it,” Scully said. “We need more help. We need the public to watch carefully. This disappearance comes from his illness.
Authorities are asking anyone who sees Lacher or has information about his whereabouts to call Bangor police at 207-942-8211.
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