Stabbing victim wants to see Arkansas' mental health law reformed

Tracking An Attacker

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - On May 28, 2014, Lauren Hannah nearly died on the job.

The licensed social worker remembers seconds that seemed to last for hours.

"I looked up and the attacker was standing over me with a butcher knife," Hannah said.

She had just finished her group therapy class at Mid-South Health Systems.

The room was empty… or so she thought.

"I didn't move. I just kind of looked at him," Hannah said.

A Jonesboro police report shows Charles Bausley used a black bag to carry a butcher knife into the facility.

"He brought the knife down and the first stab wound was to my knee. It split open to the bone and at that point, that's when it got real," Hannah stated. "At that point, it was like I'm being attacked. I'm being stabbed!"

At 1:27 p.m. time seemed to stand still.

Lauren never remembered screaming; just fighting for her life.

"He said, 'You're the devil.'" Hannah exclaimed recalling the incident.

"No one was coming," Hannah said. "I thought, I'm gonna die!"

Then a nurse came to the doorway.

Hannah claims she opened the door, yelled and tried to distract her attacker.

But, then the door closed again.

The nurse came back, threw at Bausley and ran.

But, instead of running after her, Hannah said he walked out of the room. That gave her a chance to lock the door.

"He just sat under a tree and smoked a cigarette until the police got there," Hannah said. "He didn't fight police. I saw him get arrested."

Hannah was rushed to the hospital.

The bloodbath was over.

"It looked like a horror movie," Hannah said. "There was blood everywhere."

Hannah is lucky.

Bill Penix, Junior, a Jonesboro mental health case manager, was stabbed to death in 1991 by his patient.

Act 911, Arkansas' mental health law, went into effect in 1989. Since that time, it has only been revised once. It does not allow victims to be notified of their attackers' status because HIPPA laws protect mental health patients receiving services.

Hannah wants to see patients monitored; so that she does not have to live in fear of her attacker.

"No one is being protected under the current law," Hannah said. "Victims have no notification. You have no rights."

"Some of these tragic events are just the catalyst that moved the need from, 'We got a problem' to actual legislation," said State Representative Brandt Smith.

He would like to see Hannah testify before a committee in the legislature.

"It's worth studying…but that's not a cop-out because we need to make sure that we protect everyone," Smith said.

"I have significant injuries," Hannah said. "My hand is 48 percent disabled."

Hannah has undergone surgery to improve mobility in her hand after it was nearly severed. It will never be the same.

Still Hannah continues her work in mental health counseling and believes changes in the law are necessary.

"I will never know where he is. I think about walking in the park with my children and running into him," Hannah said. "It's terrifying!"

Bausley has been taken from the Craighead County Detention Center to the Arkansas State Mental Hospital.

The case is still open.

In the meantime, Hannah has given birth to another child and still works as a licensed social worker for the same company, but not at the same location.

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