MESA, Ariz. — It's April 1, 2018, and Mesa Police are called to a group home.
It's the fourth time in a week they'd been called to the address for a missing persons call. And each time, staff at the group home say the same person goes missing from their 24-hour care facility.
This is one example of the more than 170 calls for service at Tilda Manor group home locations in Mesa since 2018.
The 12 News I-Team first started looking into calls for service after Christopher Lambeth, a resident at Tilda Manor group home on Wildhorse Dr. in Gilbert, was arrested in April for killing another resident.
Lambeth had previously been convicted in 2007 for murdering his grandparents. He was sentenced to life at the Arizona State Hospital, but the state's Psychiatric Security Review Board ruled he could go live in a group home as early as 2017. It's not clear how long he'd been at Tilda Manor.
Over the past two years, Gilbert police were called to the Tilda Manor at Wildhorse Dr. 52 times.
Tilda Manor has five locations total - three homes in Gilbert and two homes in Mesa.
Since 2018, Mesa Police have responded to the Tilda Manor group home on Isabella Avenue 92 times and the location on Ananea St. 84 times, for a combined 176 calls for service.
12 News is waiting for records requests for more information on police calls to the other two Gilbert Tilda Manor locations.
Calls for help
Not all of the calls for service generated police reports. Some were calls were dismissed without any case, but others turned into investigations.
Of the combined 176 calls to the Tilda Manor locations in Mesa, the most common call was for missing persons.
All Tilda Manor locations are licensed by Arizona's Department of Health Services to be 24-hour care facilities.
Police reports indicate the man who disappeared from the home at Isabella four times in one week had bipolar disorder and had manic episodes. In one instance staff told police he didn't take his medicine before he left. In another instance, he didn't return back to the home until the following morning.
Another example at Ananaea Street is a woman in her 30s suffering from schizophrenia. She was reported missing 4 times from March 2019 to March 2020. In one case, Grace Ashu, the company’s owner, told police she didn’t report it for an hour because she didn’t realize the woman was missing.
In another instance, a staff member watched the resident walk away, telling police she couldn’t leave the other residents to go after her.
Other Mesa police records since 2018 show cases of violence, like one resident who was arrested for assault after attacking another in 2018 and another case where a resident punched a staff member in the face in 2019.
In the summer of 2019, a resident was rushed to the hospital after trying to kill himself with a razor given to him by a staff member to shave.
No response from Tilda Manor or ADHS
For the past four weeks, ADHS has not accepted any requests to talk on camera about licensing behavioral health group homes like Tilda Manor.
Tilda Manor has also refused to answer any questions from 12 News since we first started reporting on the murder investigation in Gilbert.
Over email, a spokesperson for ADHS says they couldn't comment on the murder investigation, but says ADHS is conducting an investigation of its own as that Tilda Manor continues to operate.
"You've got to meet the needs of your patients and residents," says Will Humble, the former Director of Health Services in Arizona.
Humble says staffing and procedure rules must be set by companies like Tilda Manor before they’re licensed by the state.
"When it comes to the health and especially the safety of the residents within the home, that's clearly 100% the responsibility of the Arizona Department of Health Services."
Neighbors weigh in
"Ambulance, police cars, firetrucks," says Aaron Lombard, who lives near the Isabella location. "We do notice it. It’s always at the exact same residence."
Neighbor Darin Miller says police have even come by to search his yard for missing residents.
"They’ve been around a few times," he said.
To be clear, both men say they're not necessarily bothered by the response in their neighborhood and that they've never had a bad interaction with anyone from the home. But both wonder about the unknowns, especially in the wake of the murder investigation in Gilbert.
"I don’t know what’s going on behind closed doors," Aaron said. "I try to mind my business but at the same time I am concerned because I want to protect my family."
Neighbors at the Wildhorse Dr. location have also complained to their Town, their HOA and the state over the lack of transparency and concerns for safety down the road.
Learn more about other 12 News investigations by subscribing to the 12 News YouTube channel and watching our I-Team playlist.