March 10, 2014 at 11:00 AM
Local police have done what they can. A local hospital is following federal regulations. However, it leaves one area mother questioning where her daughter is.
Stephanie Kazan, 27, of Levittown, last spoke to her mother, Sandy Birely, on Feb. 17.
“We talk on a daily basis,” explained Birely. “We talk once or twice a day by phone.”
Birely made sure her daughter could reach her by purchasing a telephone card, which she could use from anywhere. When the funds would run out, Birely replenished the card.
Despite a newly loaded phone card, Birely has not heard from Kazan since last month.
“I spoke with her and with her therapist,” she said. “They planned to deliver her here on Feb. 18.” When she did not arrive as planned, Birely spoke with staff members at Eagleville Hospital, the last known whereabouts of her child.
A therapist there, caring for Kazan, told Birely that additional state funding allowed her daughter to stay for an extra week.
“They changed [her homecoming] to Feb. 25,” she said. “I didn’t hear from anyone. I tried on Feb. 19, and didn’t hear from her.”
“They told me nothing,” said the concerned mother. “I’ve been calling and calling.”
Birely claims that one staff member even told her to “get therapy” and screamed at her.
“I have no information,” said Birely. “I don’t know what else to do.”
On Friday, Feb. 28, Kazan missed a court date, and her mother grew more and more worried.
“I went there to see if maybe the hospital dropped her off there,” Birely said. “But she did not show up.”
Birely said that her daughter had never had trouble with the law. After being left at the alter, she said, Kazan did suffer from bouts of depression. She was seeking psychiatric help for the depression at the area hospital, according to Birely. After speaking with a friend, the mother spoke with the Bucks County District Attorney’s office. They advised her to go to local police.
“I called Sgt. [Terrance] Kennedy,” she said, “ of the Lower Providence Police.”
Local authorities were able to assist Birely to find out that she was no longer at Eagleville, but could get no further information.
William C. Folks, director of counseling services and community relations at Eagleville Hospital, is a license clinical social worker. He said that it is a federal regulation that the hospital must follow in a case like this.
“It is actually a federal regulation regarding drug and alcohol use,” said Folks. “The regulation does not permit us to affirm or deny if someone has been a patient here with out written consent.”
Folks said that a patient would have to detail exactly who could know of their care.
“An individual has to sign for a specific individual for a specific purpose,” he said. “Without that consent, we’d be violating a federal regulation.”
Birely is concerned that, due to depression, her daughter may be a danger to herself.
“There are some exceptions,” explained Folks of the regulation. “But it has to deal with in the case of a medical emergency or an incapacitated person. Even then we can only provide information to a designated healthcare provider caring for that patient.”
With no luck at the hospital, Birely went on to file a missing persons with the Lower Providence Township Police Department When that is done, the police review the case and enter the person into a national database.
“We enter the person into the NCIC [National Crime Information Center] database,” explained LPPD Chief Francis A. Carroll. “If that person has any contact with police anywhere in the United States, it will indicate that they have been reported missing.”
If contact is made, police will notify LPPD of such contact. Carroll said in a case such as Kazan’s, it is more complicated.
“Because of a person’s age, anyone 18 or over is an adult, and it is easier when it is a juvenile,” he said. “We have to demonstrate some level or risk or danger. Unless someone is indicating wrongdoing or imminent danger, we decide on the level of the investigation.”
Carroll said each case is different when it comes to missing persons.
“The level of investigation depends on a number of factors involved in each case,” he said. In the case of Kazan, the department did in fact file her as a missing person in the NCIC database.
According to the FBI, as of Jan. 1, 2014, there were 84,136 persons in the database. Of the 1,810,409 entered into the system in 2013, 47,544 had been filed as “locates” or found individuals.
While she awaits information from police, Birely has taken to social media to pass along the information about her daughter in the hopes that the public might see her and recognize her.
“She left everything here,” she said of Kazan. “I have her dog, her baby blanket.”
With no wallet, no credit cards or even her social security card, Birely is worried about where Kazan could be.
Kazan is described as 5’10” around 148 pounds. She has long blondish red hair and blue eyes. She has a butterfly tattoo on her lower back and a “large lily” between her shoulders.
If you or anyone know you now sees or hears from Kazan, Birely asks that she calls her mother.
“I’m in bad health, and she knows that. It is not like her,” said Birely.
Sandy Birely can be reached at 267-767-7560. She asks that anyone with information contact her immediately. You may also reach LPPD at 610-539-5901.