School bus theft suspect has mental illness history

Evidence showed Josiah Curtis, who was arrested Thanksgiving morning for allegedly stealing a school bus to drive to Detroit and start a rapping career there, was mentally ill and had not been taking his medication prior to the theft.

“Josiah first developed true signs of mental illness when he was 19 and already moved out of the house,” Josiah Curtis’ father, Dale Curtis, said in a statement.

Dale told WWMT News Channel 3, which covers Grand Rapids, Battle Creek and Kalamazoo, his son had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, schizoaffective disorder and mild psychosis.

“His medication helps a lot,” Dale said. “And if he’s properly medicated, he’s very normal. We found out very quickly that you have to fight for everything that gets done because the rights of a mentally ill person are very carefully protected.”

Diana Curtis, Curtis’ mother, added the last time she saw her son
was Nov. 21, and that he had obviously not been taking his medication.

“He was quite manic and quite persistent about going to Detroit to share his song with the radio station,” she said.

Wood TV, another Grand Rapids area station, reported that in 2009, Curtis had caused a scene outside Kendall College of Art and Design in Grand Rapids, Mich. shortly after he was admitted. He was recorded on video spraying aerosol into the building, undressing in the street, shouting uncontrollably and then jumping into a garbage can.

The news station also reported Curtis had been in trouble with the police five times in the past five months.

“We are not doing a mentally ill person a favor giving them so much latitude that they can do harm to themself and that they can be destroying their life,” Dale said in a statement.

Channel 3 said the Josiah Curtis case has been raising awareness for the mentally ill, the impact these illnesses have on their families and the way society handles these cases.

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