Hospital staff found freshly removed IV tubes and an abandoned GPS monitoring ankle bracelet in an emergency department room Thursday night just before 11 p.m.
But it’s what was absent from the room — namely, the patient who was supposed to be there — that was most worrisome, according to police in Newburyport, Massachusetts.
Robert Girard, a 26-year-old from Amesbury, Massachusetts, had sneaked out of the room and fled the hospital. He was naked at the time, authorities said.
Hours later, Girard resurfaced — and violently, police said.
Around 2 a.m. Friday, 50-year-old Patrick Chamberlin and his partner went to the same emergency department Girard had fled — because Girard has just broken into their nearby home and attacked the Chamberlin with a hammer, according to police.
The first clue Girard was in Chamberlin's home was a creaking staircase, Chamberlin told the Newburyport News. (The home is undergoing renovations, which could explain the hammer, Chamberlin said.)
“When he came upstairs, he turned the hallway lights on and he came around the corner,” Kristina Misita, Chamberlin’s 45-year-old partner, told the newspaper.
Before the attack began, the homeowners tried to figure out who was in their house.
“I was yelling saying ‘Hey, who is that?’ and he stepped out and he was standing there with no clothes on except a sweatshirt and he had a hammer in his hand,” Chamberlin told the newspaper.
Girard hesitated at first, WCVB reports.
“I don’t want to do this,” Girard allegedly told his victim, according to the TV station.
“Then don’t," the victim responded.
But Girard did attack, swinging the hammer against Chamberlin’s head, CBS Boston reports.
“I can't really remember what I said, but he charged and he started tomahawking with the hammer,” Chamberlin told the Newburyport News
Chamberlin managed to overpower Girard eventually, forcing Girard to give up the attack and run down to the home’s basement. Girard hid behind a curtain until Chamberlin scared him out of the house, the Newburyport News reports.
Officers tracked Girard down nearby and arrested him, police said. He was still mostly naked.
Girard faces charges of attempted murder, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and aggravated burglary, police said. Girard is also being held on a probation warrant.
In Salem District Court on Friday, Girard pleaded not guilty to the charges he faces, the Boston Globe reports. Girard being held without bail. His next court appearance is expected next week, prosecutors said.
The hospital said it handled the fleeing patient situation appropriately.
“When this patient fled our Emergency Room, we followed our policy and procedure and immediately notified the police, and worked with them to help locate the individual,” a spokesperson for Anna Jaques Hospital told Wicked Local.
Chamberlin was treated at the hospital — which is across the street from his home — for his injuries on Friday. He has since been released, police said.
“I was covered in blood and they took me and cleaned me up,” Chamberlin told the Newburyport News. “I’ve got some stitches, but I'm OK. I'm really lucky. That guy was trying to kill me, and we learned to lock our doors.”