SACRAMENTO - A North Highlands family is searching for a relative who's been missing since he was released Sunday night from the Sacramento County Jail.
The man's family said 41-year-old Cesar Escobedo is developmentally disabled, suffers from schizophrenia and does not have his medicine with him.
They fear that without his medication he could become delusional and be a danger to himself and others.
"He's alone. He doesn't have any money, no clothes to sleep with. I know it's cold. It's very sad," said his sister Lori Campbell.
Escobedo was picked up by Citrus Heights police yesterday after he would not leave his brother's home to return to an adult care facility where he usually lives.
Family members asked the Citrus Heights police officers who picked him up to tell workers at the Sacramento County Jail to call his caretaker or a family member before he was released so he could be returned to his adult care facility.
But the request apparently never got through to jail workers and the arrest was only for trespassing so Escobedo was never processed as someone who was seriously mentally ill.
Escobedo was released from the jail at 6:35 p.m. Sunday evening. Without anyone to pick him up, he apparently wandered away.
"Everybody that was at Cesar's brother's home made it very clear that Cesar could not be released on his own, that he needed to be picked up and they were given my information specifically," said Marina David, director of the adult care facility where Escobedo usually stays.
Citrus Heights police Lt. Gary Hendricks said there was no formal record of a request made for Sacramento County Jail workers to contact family members upon Cesar's release, but stated that did not mean no request was made.
Hendricks also pointed out the case was handled as a citizens arrest and that his officers were simply the "conduit" that transported Escobedo to jail, where the case was treated as a misdemeanor trespassing charge, rather than an inmate with a serious mental illness.
Family members have distributed pamphlets with Escobedo's picture and searched around the jail. They planned to renew the search on Tuesday.
Marina said the case shows how much more needs to be done to provide additional help to the mentally ill who end up in the criminal justice system.
In many U.S. jails and prisons over half the inmate population is suffering from some kind of mental illness.