… in the Minneapolis Star Tribune notes that the most charitable description of what’s been going on at the clubby University of Minnesota medical school would be “bizarre.”
Monday, February 24, 2014
For the Record: 17 yr Old Killer Diagnosed as Risk to Society, Not Treated
INVESTIGATORS: Clerk killer diagnosed, not helped
Transcript of Channel 9 Investigative Report
The Michael Swanson people remember is laughing at the news photographer who tripped taking his picture, and it was chilling to see a 17-year-old boy arrested on murder charges acting so giddy.
"These families in Iowa deserved better," Kathy Swanson, Michael's mother, told the Fox 9 Investigators. "We deserved better. Michael deserved better. Nobody deserved this."
"I don't know if you ever get over it," Kathy Swanson said.
"I am concerned he poses a risk to society if un-medicated, and even if medicated, he is still somewhat unpredictable."
The Fox 9 Investigators began reviewing the police interview of Michael Swanson, which took place just hours after the killings. When an officer asked Swanson when he slept last, the teen replied, "Four days ago. Sometimes I can't sleep at all."
Michael Swanson also told the detective he'd been hallucinating.
"I'd be driving and I'd just keep looking out the window," he said. "I thought there was somebody there."
When asked if he'd ever hallucinated before, the teen said, "It happens when I don't sleep."
The inability to sleep for long periods of time can be a symptom for someone living with bipolar disorder, a mental illness that causes dramatic and sometimes explosive shifts in a person's mood and energy level.
A month earlier, Swanson was confined to the Hennepin County Home School, a correctional center for troubled teens. It was his last stop after years of disturbing behaviors that made him a familiar face in the juvenile justice system.
"There's like two Mikes," Kathy Swanson said. "There's my Mike, who's this nice, well-behaved young man -- and then there's this other who you just don't know what he's going to do."
There was a period just before Michael Swanson went to the Hennepin County Home School when his mother would sleep with a stick because she feared the "other Mike" might attack her in her sleep.
"We, at times, would find hammers, wrenches, knives in the house where we would wonder, 'Is this kid thinking about killing us?'" she recalled.
In fact, Michael Swanson had previously admitted to having thoughts of killing his mother and his aunt. The family tried getting him help, and although he'd be hospitalized for a time, their insurance ran out and he was released.
"We didn't know what was going on with him," Kathy Swanson said.
In the summer of 2010, a judge ordered Michael Swanson to spend up to 120 days at the Hennepin County Home School. It was punishment for stealing a car and causing a hit-and-run crash while drunk.
Records show Michael Swanson behaved himself at the school and was scheduled to get out early until staff found some bizarre writings in his room.
"All about death and violence and darkness and blood," Kathy Swanson said of her son's writings.
The teen claimed they were just lyrics from rap music, but the staff was so concerned they ordered a psychiatric evaluation.
"To be just writing and writing this weird crap tells you he was in a very weird state," Kathy Swanson said.
"He told me, 'I can't talk about the evaluation. I didn't do the evaluation,'" Kathy Swanson said.
"He did not want to answer any of our questions," Kathy Swanson said.
After the meeting, Michael Swanson was released to move back home with his parents.
Twelve days after leaving the Hennepin County Home School and while his parents were sleeping, Michael Swanson stole his mother's Jeep and took off.
Why didn't Jensen tell his concerns to the Swansons? Why didn't he write a prescription right after the evaluation? Remember, Michael Swanson remained in the home school for another three weeks prior to being released. Why did he want him enrolled in a research clinic at the university?
Kathy Swanson put that accusation in writing and sent it to the Hennepin County Attorney's Office to ask for an investigation. She got a response that the alleged conduct does not appear to violate any felony law.
The U of M told the Fox 9 Investigators that there were no trials at the time that Michael Swanson would have been eligible for, and a colleague of Jensen said the clinic was not seeking Swanson for a drug study. Instead, the colleague claims he was being offered follow-up care.
"I think the doctor should go to prison," Mary Weiss, an outspoken critic of the University of Minnesota's Department of Psychiatry, said. "I mean, her son is as good as dead to her."
Weiss sued the university after her mentally-ill adult son killed himself while enrolled in a drug study there. She claimed doctors coerced her son into the study and then benefited financially. The case was dismissed on the grounds that the university was immune from being sued.
"She's helped me," Kathy Swanson said.
Kathy Swanson reached out to Weiss after her son was arrested, and she sat with her during the murder trial.
"I felt sorry for her," Weiss said. "This wasn't her doing."
Weiss is currently recovering from a second stroke, and Swanson is haunted by a number of unanswered questions.
"Who knew what? What were they doing about it, and what happened?" she asked.
Kathy Swanson asked Fox 9 Investigator Jeff Baillon to review her son's juvenile corrections file.
"I'm hoping there's some notes between Dan Lehnherr and the probation officer," she said.
"I have this feeling Dan Lehnherr must have questioned why this kid wasn't taking this med. I questioned this."
"I'd like him to confirm what happened in that meeting that we had with Jensen," she said.
She knocked on the door and he opened the blinds, looked her straight in the eyes and then closed the blinds without saying a word.
"I just have to feel that has to be driven by a lot of his own guilt. If he had nothing to hide, if he felt like he did everything he could have, he'd talk and be open," she said. "
"I just think there's been a failure somewhere," she said.
Read more: INVESTIGATORS: Clerk killer diagnosed, not helped - KMSP-TV http://www.myfoxtwincities.com/story/24811285/investigators-clerk-killer-diagnosed-not-helped#ixzz2uIywYUho
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