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Missing cross-dresser found unharmed in Northeast Miami, returns to Germany

BY STEVE ROTHAUS, srothaus@MiamiHerald.com

Robert Denney, a cross-dressing American with schizophrenia who escaped a German mental hospital and flew to Miami, is headed back to Europe.

Denney was found Friday hiding out in Northeast Miami, private investigator Daniel Maya said in a late-night e-mail to The Miami Herald.

"He was unharmed and had dyed his hair dirty blond," said Maya, who was hired by Denney's parents who live in Bavaria. "He was very cooperative and agreed to return back to Germany with a long-time friend.  At 7:30 p.m. this evening he board a plane with his friend back to Germany with no incident."

Denney, 35, has suffered from schizophrenia since 2000. Last July, German authorities had him committed. On Nov. 9, he talked a hospital guardian into giving him his passport, then went online and booked a USAir flight to the United States.

On Monday, Denney called his parents and they traced the call to Coconut Grove.

The search for Denney, who is gay or bisexual, had a complication: For several years, he has preferred to dress as a female and called himself ''Robbi,'' said Derick Rhodes of Brooklyn, a friend from high school.

When Denney was found near Northeast 80th Street and Biscayne Boulevard, he was dressed in a tank top, sweat pants and flip-flops -- all black, Maya said Friday night.

"It was pretty surreal," Maya said. "He was low key and very respectful and wanted to go home. He had that thousand-mile stare."

Doctors at Bezirkskliniken Schwaben hospital, where Denney has been involuntarily committed , described him this week as "psychotic.'' They were treating him with various drugs, but Denney left his medications behind when he escaped.

Denney's case was publicized Friday on MiamiHerald.com and in The Miami Herald's print edition. "Based on the many important tips I received, it assisted me with the finding of Robert Denney," Maya said.

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