Dr. Jayant Patel, who is also known as "Dr. Death" for fatally botching the operations of at least 16 patients, has been handed over to US Marshals and has begun his journey to Australia to face manslaughter charges. He was released into the custody of US Marshals early this morning ahead of his extradition to Australia. Dr Patel could be on a flight from the US to Brisbane as early as tomorrow night, sources with knowledge of the extradition said.
Dr Patel did not put up a struggle when prison guards took him from his cell at the Multnomah County Detention Centre early this morning and handed him over to marshals.
"He seems to be healthy and in good spirits. He didn't had any complaints," Portland-based US Marshal, Deputy Dale Ortmann, said today.
The 58-year-old doctor will remain in marshal custody until two Queensland homicide detectives arrive in the US to pick him up and fly him back to Brisbane on a commercial flight.
Dr Patel had been held at the Multnomah County Detention Centre since his arrest by the FBI at his Portland home on March 11, news.com.au reported.
Deputy Ortmann refused to say where Patel was being held, other than to say it was a marshal facility located somewhere within the US.
There was speculation that Dr Patel had been moved to a prison close to Los Angeles or San Francisco, the two US west coast cities where Australian bound flights depart.
The marshals who picked Dr Patel up were carrying an order based on a provisional arrest warrant signed by the US District Court judge, Dennis Hubel, who oversaw Dr Patel's extradition proceedings in Portland.
Last month Judge Hubel set a deadline of July 21 for Dr Patel to be handed over to Australian authorities.
If this did not occur, Judge Hubel said Dr Patel would be released from jail on strict bail conditions.
Despite Dr Patel's reported positive demeanour, his new accommodation will likely be a step down from the private cell that housed him in at Multnomah.
Dr Patel told Judge Hubel at a hearing on June 26 that he no longer wanted to fight extradition to Australia.
Queensland authorities have fought for years to prosecute the doctor.
Dr Patel, a US citizen, is wanted in Queensland on 14 charges related to his time as a surgeon at the Bundaberg Base Hospital between 2003 and 2005.
Dr Patel is accused of three counts of manslaughter related to allegedly botched operations on patients at the Bundaberg hospital.
He is also charged with fraud and grievous bodily harm charges.
The fraud charges relate to allegations Dr Patel hid his employment history in the US when he applied for the job at Bundaberg.
If convicted in Queensland, he faces a maximum life sentence.