911 call filled with fear from staffer attacked at Newport News mental health center


NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — WAVY has obtained the 911 call from an attack last month at Newport News Behavioral Health Center, the same facility where we’ve revealed other troubles in recent months.

Police say an unidentified staffer was choked and robbed in the early morning hours of March 23. Her attackers were two male residents. 

Afterward, she was holed up in a bathroom at Newport News Behavioral Health Center.

“I just need to get out of here,” she tells the dispatcher.

Police say two residents are responsible. They say a 16-year-old boy grabbed her from behind by the neck, and told a 17-year-old boy to rob her.

“Ma’am, do you need medical treatment?” the dispatcher asks.

“They choked me out and took my car keys and the keys to the building.”

Police say her 17-year-old attacker was stopped by other staffers before he could escape, but the 16-year-old was able to get away, at least initially.

He will face charges of strangulation, robbery and conspiracy.

We’ve done other reports on Newport News Behavioral Health in recent months. It provides therapy and substance abuse for children and teens.

17-year-old Raven Keffer died in June after her complaints of physical problems went unheeded for eight days. Regulators cited the center for violations and management has made changes.

In November, an employee was suspended for allegedly punching a resident in the face.

Meanwhile, the staffer who was assaulted and robbed three weeks ago was treated for her injuries.

Newport News police originally said officers knew of Groome’s whereabouts, but did not have him in their custody. This information was incorrect.

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