According to a lawsuit filed by the Rodriguez family, their daughter’s death could have
been prevented if the proper checks and balances were in place at a local
mental health facility, Lasting Hope Recovery Center. Attorney
Brian Jorde of Domina Law Group represents the Rodriguez family in the suit.
wrongful death lawsuit claims that Mikael Loyd, Melissa Rodriguez’s boyfriend,
was allowed to walk right out of a mental health facility undetected.
Loyd allegedly returned to the facility later that same day after strangling
his girlfriend Melissa to death.
The lawsuit names Lasting Hope and the Omaha Police Department, saying
that both parties made crucial errors that led to Loyd being able to leave
the facility to kill his girlfriend. Loyd had been admitted to the facility
under an emergency protective order.
According to Jorde, “It seems clear from the facts that there was
at the very least miscommunication between the police and Lasting Hope.”
Loyd’s relationship with Melissa Rodriguez began to be cause for
concern in June 2013 when her parents noticed bruising on their daughter’s
neck, shoulders, and arms. The family notified police who then filed a
domestic violence report. During the same period, the lawsuit alleges
that Loyd falsely imprisoned Rodriguez, prompting Rodriguez to contact
police on multiple occasions.
Police also obtained testimony from Loyd that summer where he admitted
to having violent feelings and thoughts in response to his father’s
death (his father was killed in 1995 gang-related shooting). After some
other interactions with police, detectives decided to place Loyd at Lasting
Hope because they say he presented a danger to himself and possibly others,
the lawsuit contends.
The lawsuit also contends that, although mental health facilities are required
to perform mental health evaluations of all new patients within 36 hours
of admittance, Lasting Hope did not do so. The lawsuit also explains the
Rodriguez family’s doubts that police officers even explained to
Lasting Hope why Loyd was in protective custody.
Loyd has since pleaded no contest to second degree murder for the killing
of his girlfriend Melissa Rodriguez on August 14, 2013. The wrongful death
lawsuit is pending.