DARLINGTON COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – An assisted living facility is now under scrutiny after the same patient went missing twice.
On both occasions, investigators and K-9 teams in the Pee Dee spent hours searching.
“She has wandered off or left the home intentionally a couple of times in the last couple of weeks,” said Darlington County Sherriff Wayne Byrd.
Twenty-five-year-old Billie Jo Gagliostro was reported missing once this past Saturday, exactly a week after the first time her disappearance had been reported.
Investigators said she is mentally challenged.
“Which causes us great concern because there is some question about whether she is able to take care of herself or if she has her faculties about her to be able to look out for her own safety,” Byrd said.
Investigators said Gagliostro was located in Florence following her most recent disappearance.
The first time Gagliostro was reported missing, she and her caretakers were reportedly in the city of Florence at Wal-Mart.
“At this point, we are just trying to figure out what is the regular status of this place,” Byrd said.
The facility operates out of a home in a Darlington County neighborhood.
The executive director of Lutheran Services Carolinas said it’s one of 10 across the state the company runs.
She added it is licensed by the Department of Special Needs and Disabilities to purchase homes and set up shop in them.
WMBF News asked why Gagliostro was able to successfully leave the company’s care.
While this specific case could not be commented on, the company did release a statement.
“Sometimes, as individuals are adjusting to their new environment we may see behaviors such as elopement,” Bethany Vause, executive director of the Lutheran Services Carolinas, said.
At this point, the sheriff’s office said it is looking into the way the Darlington County arm of the facility is run.
“It would not be any different than if a child was continually running away from home. We would wonder why a child was doing that. Are the parents not taking care of it? Is it abused or neglected?” Byrd said.