I have a friend who has a sister that is mentally ill. She sees things and scenarios that aren't there, talks to the Virgin Mary, has paranoid delusions, etc. She's been in and out of the hospital several times and is there now but will probably be released in the next few days. She's gotten much worse in the last couple of months.
The sister was living with their elderly mother and taking care of her but is too far gone to be trusted anymore and can't live there.
It's gotten to the point where all the family members can't deal with the crazy sister anymore and have washed their hands of her. They've looked into having her committed but the process is very complicated. Also there's no place for her to go. In Georgia there are no public hospitals for cases like this and private care homes are too costly.
It seems the only place left for the sister is the streets. My friend, who lives in Florida, cannot accept that. She wants to take the sister back to Florida and care for her there.
If one has a family member that is mentally ill, and taken her against her will across state lines, is it considered kidnapping? Could she be prosecuted?
Depending on the facts and any allegations in the future, yes. It could pose legal problems for your friend. She should apply for guardianship of the sister through the Probate Court.
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Let me suggest that your friend is in need of a consult with a guardianship attorney who understands what care options are available in GA. You are incorrect as to an understanding of public facilities within GA for cases like this--those facilities do exist. Admission to them typically requires commitment and/or guardianship proceedings.
You are right to be concerned. Many states have statutes that say taking an incapacitated person out of their home state is kidnapping. Is your mentally ill sister well enough to call police and claim she is being kidnapped? (It does not sound like the family would complain.) Another concern is that many states have a waiting period/residency requirement for getting government assistance. If your friend takes her to FL there might be no financial assistance for perhaps a year. Your friend should check on this before taking her there. Here in Georgia, you might call Adult Protective Services in the county where she lives to see if they can help your sister since she does not have a family member who can help. Unfortunately, the bouncing in and out of the hospital is likely to continue. The hospital takes the patient in, gets them stabilized and then has to release them since they are stabilized (even though they know they won't stay that way once they are released.) I am sorry this is so difficult for your family.
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