Cairus moving to autism facility

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Mother of 18-year-old said move is a welcomed change

An 18-year-old autistic man undergoing competency restoration at the Department of Mental Health in Fulton is being moved to Guhleman Forensic Center, another building at the facility that specializes in autism.

Tyler Cairus, 18, of Monett, is being held at the facility to complete competency restoration, which may determine if he is fit to stand trial on charges of attempted statutory sodomy and attempted statutory rape.

Wendy Cairus, mother of Tyler Cairus who was granted guardianship over her son on Nov. 21, said moving her son to a more appropriate building is a welcomed change.

"He was reportedly having to be strapped to his bed because he would bang his head on the wall or on his pillow, and this is something he has done all of his life," she said. "I don't know if they finally got a grip and realized he should be in Biggs, or if my getting guardianship had an effect."

The Biggs Forensic Center at Fulton is where all patients are initially brought, and it is the maximum security building at the facility. Cairus is being moved to the Guhleman Forensic Center, an intermediate security facility where he will work with a new team of specialists.

Cairus said her being awarded guardianship has made a difference in his care.

"Me having guardianship allows them to realize that I am involved and they need to go through me," she said. "Like at one point, they gave him an injection of Haldol, [a drug that aims to treat mental illnesses like schizophrenia, behavior problems, agitation and symptoms of Tourette's syndrome], and I would have never given the OK for that.

"It made Tyler feel like his eyes were bulging out and put him in a lot of pain, so they had to give him a reversal medication."

Cairus said she had requested two or three times that he be moved to the Guhleman Forensic Center.

"He will be better-suited than in the other building because the treatment was inconsistent, and autistic people need consistency," she said.

Tyler Cairus was arrested on Aug. 20 after an incident at Monett Elementary School. He was allegedly standing outside the fence near the playground when he was approached by school staff, telling school personnel and police that he was at the location to take a child home -- by force, if necessary -- with whom to perform sexual acts.

Johnnie Cox, Barry County prosecuting attorney, said at the Department of Mental Health, Cairus will undergo six months of competency restoration to see if he is able to stand trial.

"They could make the determination that he's competent to proceed and file a motion to proceed, or they could recommend another six months of evaluation, or they could make the determination he is not competent and never will be," Cox said.

After his arrest, Cairus was sent to the in-patient psychiatric hospital at Cox North in Springfield, then transported to the Barry County jail. Cairus was also sent to the Mental Health Department for a one-day evaluation, which found him incompetent.

Based on those results, he was ordered to go to Fulton for the competency restoration. The department then had to find a bed for Cairus, forcing him to still be held in the jail until Nov. 12.

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