Treatment Center Under Scrutiny After Two Leave Facility 10 May 12

State authorities will be taking a close look at St. Peter Regional Treatment Center procedures for mentally ill and dangerous patients after one man left the campus without permission and another man allegedly attempted to kill his mother while out with a day pass Tuesday.

Both men were arrested at Seven Mile Creek County Park, one Tuesday night and the other about noon Wednesday. Nicollet County Sheriff Dave Lange said he believes there is no direct connection between the two incidents.

According to Deputy Commissioner of Human Services Anne Barry, 48-year-old Burton James Ewing Jr., was in a transition program that allowed him to leave the campus with day passes.

The Mankato Free Press reports court records show he was committed to the Minnesota Security Hospital at the treatment center in 1998 after he beat his sister to death. Ewing had been charged with murder, but he was found not guilty by reason of mental illness. He was arrested at the county park at about 6:15 p.m. after he allegedly stabbed his 69-year-old mother, who was in critical condition Wednesday.

Barry says the man who left the campus without permission was in a pre-transition program that allowed him to walk on campus without direct supervision. 25-year-old William Daniel Pfeffer Jr., has a history of assaults and was committed in 2009. He wore an ankle bracelet that triggers an alarm if he leaves the grounds. That alarm prompted a search, involving dozens of law enforcement officers, that started at about 2 p.m. Tuesday and didn’t end until Pfeffer was found at the park Wednesday.