Meet James Flavy Coy Brown. Mentally ill for much of his life, he was discharged from a Las Vegas psychiatric hospital and put on a bus to Sacramento. He disappeared into the cold streets in February but has resurfaced to tell his story.

Over the past five years, Nevada's primary state psychiatric hospital has put hundreds of mentally ill patients on Greyhound buses and sent them to cities and towns across America.

The Public Eye
In the darkness of early mornings during his graveyard shift at Nevada's primary state psychiatric hospital, Gilbert Degala regularly walked patients outside and watched them climb into taxis bound for the Greyhound bus station on Main Street.

Following a series of Bee reports, Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Hospital in Las Vegas revised its policy and no longer discharges people to buses without an escort. But questions still loom about the fate of the hundreds of mentally ill patients sent off alone over the past five years.

G7R15LQOA.3Senior Photojournalist
Six months after he was discharged to a Greyhound bus and shipped out of Las Vegas, one former patient of Nevada’s primary hospital for mentally ill people stabbed a man to death in Iowa.

To attract tourist dollars, Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval unveiled a cheery little ad that displays the Silver State's sunny side and is set against a toe-tapping version of "Don't Fence Me In," the sort of tune that can worm its way into your head.

Note to readers:

The Bee began this investigation after learning of a mentally ill man who, according to sources in the social services community, had been bused from a Nevada state psychiatric hospital to Sacramento, with a minimal supply of food and medication and without any arrangements for his treatment or housing. After locating him in a boarding home in Sacramento, The Bee pieced together James Flavy Coy Brown's story by interviewing him at length, tracking down relatives across the country, and talking to doctors, social workers and caregivers he encountered after his arrival in Sacramento. Brown gave us permission to access his confidential medical information.

To put his case in context, The Bee obtained Greyhound bus receipts for the last five years from Nevada's mental health division. An analysis of that data shows that over the past five years, Nevada has bused hundreds of mentally ill patients from its primary state psychiatric hospital in Las Vegas to big cities and small towns across America. Since July 2008, Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Hospital has transported more than 1,500 mentally ill patients out of southern Nevada by Greyhound bus, sending at least one person to every state in the continental United States. A third of those patients were sent to California.

This series of stories won the 2013 George Polk Award In Journalism and the Worth Bingham Prize For Investigative Journalism. It was a finalist for the 2014 Pulitzer Prize in the investigative reporting category.

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