Missing wife of ex minister found at church near mental health facility [Update]

The wife of jailed former defence minister Akis Tsochatzopoulos was found sitting on a bench outside a church in Haidari, western Athens, on Friday afternoon, a day after she went missing from the Dromokaiteio mental health facility, state television reported.

Police detained the 52-year-old after an anonymous caller telephoned her lawyer and informed him of her location, according to sources. She was expected to be taken to Athens police headquarters.

Stamati, who was sentenced to 12 years for money laundering in the same case as her husband in 2013, had been receiving psychological treatment for depression. Her escape from the Dromokaiteio came a few hours after her fifth appeal for release from jail was rejected.

A judicial investigation has been launched into the circumstances surrounding Stamati’s escape. According to staff at the Dromokaiteio Hospital, the padlock on the outside of the balcony door was found to be open in the morning. Only the supervisor of the Dromokaiteio nursing staff had a key for that padlock, the staff said. Other sources indicated that the shutters of Stamati’s room had been open for several days on approval by medical staff. One source said the ex-minister’s wife was free to walk around the grounds of the hospital and received frequent visits. Four guards who had been assigned to Stamati have been questioned in connection with the incident.

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