Metro bank robber’s family says mental health and prison systems failed them

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A Kansas City man is accused of holding up the same metro bank twice within five years.

Mario Holmes is facing federal bank robbery charges after demanding cash from the UMB at 18th and Grand on Monday morning. The 35-year-old admits he robbed that very same bank back in 2014, but his family says it never should've happened again.

A clerk at the downtown UMB said he was handed a note demanding cash minutes after the branch opened.

Court records say Holmes calmly walked out with the money and went shoe shopping down the street. That's where police arrested him.

Holmes told his mom he was planning to rob the bank, but the crime is no laughing matter to his family.

"I called 911. I called the parole officer. I called his case worker he goes to, and basically until he does something, it’s not really anything they can do. But my thing was to try to stop him before he does it," said Holmes' mother, Valerie McCraney.

Valerie McCraney

Holmes'  family members said he was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia after he robbed a bank 17 years ago. That diagnosis came during his evaluations in the federal prison system.

"It made sense because he was paranoid a lot. I just didn’t know what was wrong with my brother," said Patrisse Holmes, Mario’s sister.

But instead of getting quality care, the family said Holmes was held in solitary confinement for eight years,and was transferred to prisons around the country, before being released in 2013.

"It wasn’t what was really needed. Instead of just being locked up, he probably would’ve done better in a facility, but I don’t have the money to do those things," McCraney said.

After getting out of prison, he robbed the UMB branch at 18th and Grand in 2014. This time, he was found mentally incompetent and sent to a mental health facility. He was released from that facility in March 2018.

"He came out, and he was telling me that there were cameras and microphones on him, and that he was told in five years when he was off supervised release, he was going to be a sent to a location to remove them and get him help to know how to live out in society," McCraney said.

Holmes was convinced that five-year mark would hit July 8, 2018. So on the morning of July 9, he decided to rob the same UMB branch he'd hit up four years earlier.

"He said, 'This is the only way. Please don’t be selfish about it. Let me do this. This is the only way I’m going to get this help.' And I kept saying, 'But it’s not.' And I said, 'If you leave out, I hate to do it, but I will call,'" McCraney said.

His mom and sisters are frustrated. They believe the prison and mental health facilities didn't do their job and also failed to adequately equip them to care for Holmes once he got out.

They now worry about his fate moving forward but are trying to stay optimistic.

"I’m just hoping that I find a way to get someone to help us so that we can help him," McCraney said.

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