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Psychiatric patient faces upgraded assault charge

MANCHESTER — The charge against Fern Ornelas, 54, who is accused of attacking a security guard in the psychiatric holding section of the Elliot Hospital emergency department Wednesday night, has been upgraded to felony second-degree assault.

Ornelas, of 54 Lancaster Ave., had been scheduled for arraignment Friday in Circuit Court-Manchester District Division on a misdemeanor simple assault charge.

Police filed the more serious charge and intended to drop the misdemeanor at the arraignment session, but Ornelas remains hospitalized and no new date for arraignment has been set.

Ornelas was at the Elliot Hospital, awaiting transfer to the New Hampshire State Hospital, which has a waiting list. Police said he became increasingly agitated Wednesday and when the security guard, a retired New Hampshire State Trooper, sought to return Ornelas to his room, Ornelas attacked guard Lawrence Bolduc. Police said it took several security guards, a Manchester police officer who was on a detail at the Emergency Room, and pepper spray to get Ornelas under control and handcuffed.

Ornelas and Bolduc were treated for facial injuries.

Trace Adkins
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