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Trespasser taken into emergency detention Friday
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DARLINGTON - Darlington Police have taken into custody the confused Dubuque, Iowa, woman who trespassed in homes in Juda and Brodhead and followed a Monroe driver home earlier this week.

The 54-year-old's behavior alarmed residents and led a Juda woman to post a public alert on Facebook that went viral Thursday and reached the Dubuque woman's concerned relatives within hours. They said she suffers a mental illness and has been off her medication.

"I've been worried sick," said her husband, Troy Morrison, who lives in Tennessee. He and his daughter, Rachel Morrison of Dubuque, were frantically trying without success Thursday to get the woman committed to a hospital. They said she was a danger to herself and others.

Troy Morrison said Friday morning he was relieved to hear his wife was in custody.

"That's good news, it really is," he said, adding that she had been making threats within the past week and he was worried about her.

Jason King, Darlington's chief of police, said the woman was taken into custody Friday morning due to a "change in her behavior." The Times is not naming her because she has not been charged with a crime.

"We have conducted an emergency detention and she is currently being taken to St. Mary's Hospital in Madison for mental health treatment. Her car has been towed and is under the care of the tow company," he wrote in an email to the Times.

A blind dog traveling with the woman "is being cared for by the Darlington Police Department at our animal impound until family can come take possession of it this weekend."

The emergency detention came after the woman damaged property at the Darlington hotel where she was staying Thursday night, according to King.

She reportedly threw hot sauce on a hotel smoke alarm, setting it off.

"She could potentially be charged with disorderly conduct and damage to property," King wrote. "However, it is possible she will not be found competent to face such charges." The case has been referred to the Lafayette County district attorney to determine if charges are warranted.

As of Thursday, despite multiple complaints about her, police from multiple agencies did not arrest or detain the woman.

Area residents reported several strange encounters with her on Wednesday, including two incidents of trespassing.

A Juda man, Phil Trotter, said he came home in the afternoon to discover the woman had parked her car in his driveway, gone into the house with her blind dog and was making herself at home. He found her fixing her hair at the bathroom mirror. When he asked her who she was and what she was doing, she told him she thought she was at a friend's house, apologized and left.

Trotter later reported the unsettling incident to the Green County Sheriff's Office, even though he said he didn't feel threatened by the woman.

"She certainly wasn't going to harm me, and she didn't take anything," he said.

About an hour later, a couple in Brodhead found the woman taking a bath in their bathroom, according to Brodhead police. Again, the woman seemed to believe she was in the house of someone she knew. The couple told police she claimed to be a distant relative of theirs but they didn't know her.

The couple requested police to escort her off their property but reported that she didn't take anything and they didn't want to press charges against her.

Earlier Wednesday, at about 2 p.m. in Monroe, the woman also reportedly trailed a driver in her car and followed her all the way to her home. The incident was reported to Monroe Police about 24 hours later, according to Monroe Chief of Police Fred Kelley.

"My understanding is that they reported this after seeing something about the woman on social media," Kelley wrote in an email to the Times. "We'll wait to see what happens in Darlington to decide an end disposition with the incident here."

Darlington Police checked the welfare of the woman a couple of times on Thursday but declined to detain her. In an email Thursday evening, King wrote that she "has not done anything wrong in Darlington and we provided her with a voucher to spend the night at a hotel."

Even in cases of clear mental trouble, police have to follow certain criteria for forcing a mental-health commitment or emergency detention on an adult, according to King. As of Thursday night, she had not met those criteria.