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AIDS Patient Who Vowed to Spread Virus Arrested

January 16, 1987|THOMAS OMESTAD | Times Staff Writer

Oxnard police this morning arrested an AIDS patient who fled the Veterans Administration Hospital in Sepulveda two days ago after threatening to pass on the deadly virus to anyone who approached him, authorities said.

Barry Joseph Debow, 28, was found hiding in a closet at a woman friend's house in Oxnard about 9:15 a.m., Los Angeles police Officer Bill Frio said. Despite the alleged threats, Debow was taken into custody without incident, Frio said.

Oxnard police spotted Debow's car in front of the house, Frio said, and three officers and a police dog found Debow in a bedroom closet.

Debow, whose last known address is in Oxnard, was taken by ambulance to an undisclosed Veterans Administration hospital in Los Angeles for psychiatric evaluation. Police said they also have a misdemeanor charge of possession of marijuana against him.

Police described Debow as "suicidal and homicidal" and were advised to use caution in approaching him.

He walked out of the Sepulveda hospital on Wednesday afternoon before he was scheduled for surgery for an AIDS-related sickness, police said.

He threatened to inject his own blood into "anyone who comes in contact with him" and to "bite and scratch" anyone who tried to subdue him, Detective Andre Dawson said. Debow also allegedly threatened to kill his previous employers at Rancho Encino Hospital, Dawson said.

Frio said that Debow will be held for at least three days for psychiatric tests, a period that can be extended with a doctor's request. If the psychiatric examinations are completed in three days, Debow will be held on the marijuana charge, Frio said.

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