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Published: Friday, 7/11/2008

Iraq War veteran returned for treatment after barricading herself in home

Armed Ottawa County deputies watch the home where a former soldier barricaded herself. Armed Ottawa County deputies watch the home where a former soldier barricaded herself.

OAK HARBOR, Ohio - A 23-year-old Iraq War veteran barricaded herself inside her home in Ottawa County's Carroll Township for about nine hours yesterday before surrendering to authorities about 9:15 last night, county Sheriff Bob Bratton said.

Melissa Jo Muirhead of 910 Toussaint South Rd., an Army veteran, was taken by ambulance to University of Michigan Hospital, Ann Arbor.

Ms. Muirhead left unexpectedly when she was meeting with a counselor at the VA Ann Arbor Health Care System about 9:45 a.m. yesterday to deal with the violence she had experienced in combat, Sheriff Bratton said.

VA officials asked the sheriff's office to check on her safety. About 12:30 p.m., deputies found that she had locked herself in the home and had told them she had a weapon, Sheriff Bratton said.

Several of her relatives waited near the scene throughout the ordeal. Emergency medical crews and the Ottawa County SWAT team were on standby, Sheriff Bratton said.

About 8:45 p.m., the counselor from the VA hospital was flown in from Ann Arbor and spoke with her before she decided to surrender.

"This is a case where this girl has seen some pretty brutal stuff overseas in the war, so you want to work with her as much as you can," Sheriff Bratton said.

He said he'll work with the county prosecutor to monitor counseling for her rather than file charges "to make sure she gets the treatment she needs."

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