Local icon Leslie back in hospital, unbeknownst to friends
Austin's own local cross-dressing celebrity, Leslie Cochran, is back at Brackenridge Hospital.
No details have been released about his condition yet, but what is troubling about this hospital stay is that no one knew Cochran had been admitted. Not even Leslie's family or friends knew where he was for over a week.
The Austin icon disappeared Monday of last week and Austin friends called out a full-on search to find him, even filing a what they thought was a Missing Person's Report with the Austin Police Department on Tuesday.
"We were out searching the creeks in town with flashlights," says Leslie's longtime friend and former roommate Elizabeth Christian in a phone interview Friday. "He disappears all the time, but never for a full week at a time."
After growing increasingly frantic as the silence spread across the week, Christian said she finally got a phone call from Leslie saying he was alright and resting at Brackenridge after being admitted the week prior.
But then, why did nobody hear about his arrival at the hospital? Plenty of homeless advocates and friends take responsibility for his day-to-day well-being as his family largely lives in Florida.
"There's a small group of us that are his family here," says Christian, "One of us should have been told what was happening."
According to Christian, the hospital has been instructed not to release patient information, including to the media.
After Cochran's heavily televised admission to Brackenridge in October of 2009 after falling, family and city officials felt it appropriate to keep his more personal business private and the hospital's parking lots unclutterred with cameras and candlelight vigils.
What is troubling to Christian, however, is that APD did not check on Leslie's whereabouts after the Request to Locate Report was filed. Or if they did, they never told Leslie's emergency contact.
"You'd think ADP would clear that up with the hospital and tell someone," offers Christian. "It's a bunch of bullshit that APD did nothing to contact us to call off the search."
According to the APD Public Information Office, however, a Missing Persons Report was never entered into the system. An official from their office claims that Friday was the first they had even heard that Leslie had been proclaimed missing.
APD protocol dictates that if a missing adult is found by the Missing Persons Unit, they are then taken out of the system.
Somewhere, the standard procedure for handling an individual that goes missing negatively shook out in this equation. Leaving us to wonder, does Leslie's status as an icon actually compromise his relationships and access to the individuals that support him the most?
In the meanwhile, Christian and fellow friends of Leslie are still looking for answers but are ultimately relieved that Cochran is safe.