A man who made a hoax bomb threat at Jacksonville International Airport was taken to a federal medical facility in North Carolina earlier than planned on Tuesday because of concerns about his mental and physical health, authorities said.
Zeljko Causevic, 39, has been in jail on $1 million bail since Oct. 1, when he was arrested on charges that he falsely told a security screener that he had a bomb in his backpack as he tried to enter the airport's passenger area. His claim led to a five-hour closure at the airport, the cancellation of dozens of flights and the stranding of passengers overnight. Many passengers were stuck on airplanes for hours before being transported back to the terminal.
The truck driver's backpack only contained an electronic scale, two batteries and a microchip, authorities said.
U.S. Magistrate Judge James Klindt ruled on Nov. 20 that Causevic suffered from "a mental disease or defect rendering him mentally incompetent" to stand trial. Causevic initially was supposed to be sent to a medical facility sometime after Christmas, but Klindt said U.S. marshals decided to send him earlier due to his pressing health conditions.
Causevic was being transported to the Federal Medical Center, Butner, early Tuesday.
Klindt ordered Causevic to stay there indefinitely, even after medical officials complete a report on his mental competency, to avoid having to transport him between Jacksonville and North Carolina as the case proceeds.
During a hearing Tuesday, Klindt said he wants to be updated on Causevic's status.
"We have lost track of these kinds of defendants at times in the past," he told a prosecutor and defense attorney.
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