Multiple personality fugitive arrested

KEY BISCANE, Fla. -- An escaped mental patient from Ohio, diagnosed as having 24 separate personalities, was arrested without incident at a hotel bar where he was sitting with his public defender.

William Stanley Milligan, 31, who escaped from the Central Ohio Psychiatric Hospital in Columbus on July 4, was arrested Thursday night on a charge of unlawful flight to avoid confinement, said William E. Wells, special agent in harge of the FBI in Miami.


Milligan was being held without bond at the Metro-Dade County Correctional Center and was scheduled to appear at a hearing today before a federal magistrate.

Ohio public defender Randall Dana, who is in charge of Milligan's defense, was at the bar with Milligan, the Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch reported.

Dana, who arrived in Miami Thursday to attend a law conference, said Milligan phoned his room shortly after he checked in and requested a meeting.


Dana said they agreed to meet in the hotel bar, but agents arrested Milligan just after the two sat down.

'I haven't known where Billy was,' Dana said. 'I did not know he was down here. I don't want people to get the impression I was setting up a meeting.'

However, Dana said he had spoken with Milligan 'two or three times in the last six or eight weeks,' Dana said he was making arrangements for Milligan to surrender.

At a 1978 trial in Columbus, Milligan was found innocent by reason of insanity on charges of rape, robbery and kidnapping because of a multiple-personality disorder. Doctors testified that he suffered from a rare disorder in which he assumed up to 24 personalities.

Milligan's diagnosed personalities include a 3-year-old dyslexic girl, an escape artist who speaks Serbo-Croatian and an Englishman who reads and writes fluent Arabic.

In video tape left in a Columbus bus station shortly after he walked away from the psychiatric hospital, Milligan said a plot to keep him institutionalized made him fear for his safety and prompted him to escape.

'I left the institution as a matter of self-defense,' he said on the tape. 'I didn't want to threaten anyone. On the morning I left ... I had a genuine fearfor my personal safety. My treatment, prescribed by my court-ordered physician Dr. (Stella) Karolin, was abruptly brought to a halt.'


Milligan said the change in treatment was the result of a personal disagreement with Dr. Lewis Lindner, administrator of the Central Ohio Psychiatric Hospital, and was a plot to keep him institutionalized.

Daniel Keyes, author of 'The Minds of Billy Milligan,' said he received a telephone message from Milligan echoing Milligan's fears.

'There was a message on my answering machine from him ... I guess the day after he escaped,' said Keyes, an English professor at Ohio University in Athens. 'He said he left because he feared for his safety.'

Milligan's personalities were diagnosed by Dr. Cornelia Wilbur of Lexington, Ky., the psychoanalyst who fused the 16 personalities of a patient known as Sybil, later the subject of a book and television play.

Doctors say that as a child, Milligan was the victim of an abusive father who sexually molested him and buried him alive.

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