Tennessee mental patient's body found in Miss. River - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Tennessee mental patient's body found in Miss. River

(WMC-TV) – Investigators want to know how a mental patient ended up dead and floating in the Mississippi River in Bolivar County, MS.

Memphis police arrested Samuel Brooks in July.

Court records show he went for a mental evaluation in December and he was still supposed to be at that facility, according to evidence found on his body when it washed ashore in another state.

Like a piece of driftwood, he washed onto the bank of the Mississippi River down in Bolivar County, MS.

"An experience that I wouldn't want to go through again and I wouldn't want anybody else's family to go through that particular type of incident," Kelvin Williams, Bolivar County sheriff.

Williams said the body of Samuel Brooks had been in the water perhaps as long as a month.

"Only thing he had on were a pair of shoes and socks and had a wristband on one of his arms," said Williams.

That wristband eventually led investigators to his family.

"They hadn't heard from him in awhile," said Williams. "So they were pretty upset."

Family members told the sheriff that Brooks was supposed to be at Western Mental Health Institute in Bolivar, TN.

He'd taken a weekend leave on February 17.

However, the sheriff said family members told him they were not aware he never returned.

The state department of mental health refused to discuss the case and cited privacy laws which prohibit them from talking about specific patients.

In general, they say protocol is to alert local authorities if a patient goes missing.

"Regarding the incident at hand, we will be working with law enforcement to determine whether in fact the person in question was a former patient of one of our facilities," a spokesperson for the department wrote in an email.

The Tennessee Department of Mental Health said it is reviewing the case.

The sheriff said there are no signs of foul play and that the coroner's report indicates Brooks drowned.

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