Eric Izlar (Courtesy of U.S. Marshals)

A patient at St. Elizabeths psychiatric hospital who had been missing since December returned to the facility Saturday, a hospital spokeswoman said Monday.

The U.S. Marshals Service was alerted Dec. 18 to begin searching for 42-year-old Eric Izlar after hospital officials say he walked away from a staffer and “jogged” out a gate and off the hospital grounds.

The Washington Post first wrote about Izlar’s disappearance last week.

Phyllis Jones of the D.C. Department of Behavioral Health, which oversees the District-run hospital, confirmed Izlar’s return. She said it was unclear where Izlar had been since he fled the hospital. In 1998, a D.C. Superior Court judge found Izlar not guilty by reason of insanity on an aggravated assault charge and ordered him sent to the hospital.

Earlier, hospital officials said it was not uncommon for patients to leave the hospital without authorization, and that such incidents occur about once a month. Usually, however, those patients either return on their own or are returned by the marshals, Jones said.

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