CASTLE ROCK, Colo.— It’s been nearly a week since Robert Gautsche, 58, escaped from a rehabilitation facility in Castle Rock and his brother says he’s a “nervous wreck.”
Brad Gautsche said his brother suffers from Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome (WKS) and needs his medication. WKS is a neurological disorder that causes confusion, amnesia and impairs short-term memory.
On Feb. 4, Robert escaped from Silver Heights Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation just before 8 p.m.
Brad looked up to his older brother growing up. The father of two had a successful career and a loving family.
“An incredible loving wife, two kids, and the addiction completely took over,” Brad said.
Robert began abusing pills and alcohol. Brad remembers convincing his brother to call 911 on a drunken night.
“He was admitted to the local hospital and he blew a .48, which is deadly,” Brad said.
In 2020, Brad became the power of attorney for his brother. He managed his finances while his Robert got his life back on track.
Robert got a new job and was doing well until he relapsed. He was admitted to Sky Ridge Medical Center where he was diagnosed with WKS due to alcohol abuse, according to his brother.
“It’s like Alzheimer’s on steroids,” Brad said.
Robert stayed at the hospital from February through August in the ICU with someone watching him closely. Brad said his brother tried to escape three times.
When he was released, he was transferred to a lockdown rehab facility in Lone Tree, and then to Silver Heights Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation in Castle Rock. Robert was at the facility for three days when he escaped.
“He would never have been transferred here if I would have known that it was not a 100% lockdown facility,” Brad said.
Video obtained by a search and rescue team shows Robert crossing an intersection. He was last captured on camera at King Soopers off Promenade Parkway in Castle Rock.
Denver7 reached out to Silver Heights Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation. A spokesperson released the statement below:
“Castlerock prides itself on excellent care, and one of the points we focus on is resident privacy rights. As such, we can comment generally in that we did have a non-custodial resident leave the facility on their own recognizance recently. And out of concern for the resident’s welfare, the facility continues to work with local law enforcement, the physician, and the family daily to locate the resident. We maintain that the facility’s security standards are sound.”
Brad fears the worst as time ticks away and searches lead to dead ends. It’s why he’s begging people to help him find his brother and best friend before it’s too late.
Robert was last seen wearing a brown leather jacket and jeans.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office detective at (303) 784-7810.