Virginia Investigates: Why Was Deeds Son Released?

Reports bubble up that hospitals with beds available were not contacted
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 21, 2013 7:43 AM CST
In a Sept. 25, 2009 photo, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds spends time with his son Gus, left, on the road to Halifax, Va., between campaign events.   (AP Photo/The Virginian-Pilot, Hyunsoo Leo Kim)

(Newser) – Just 13 hours before stabbing his father and then killing himself, Gus Deeds was released from an emergency custody order after just a few hours—because no psychiatric bed could be found in order to hold him for up to 48 hours. Now Virginia has launched an inquiry into the situation, with numerous departments investigating the events leading up to the incident Tuesday, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reports. The investigations come in the wake of reports from "a number of media outlets," the T-D notes, that claimed yesterday at least three hospitals were not contacted and did have beds available. (See one such story here, which notes that officials may simply have run out of time while looking for a bed; Gus would have been allowed to leave after four to six hours, and discussions with hospitals about booking a patient can be quite lengthy.)

The chair of the Community Services Board that released Gus is still insisting no beds were available, and says that "thorough records exist of every hospital that was contacted." A government official says his department's investigation will look into the conflicting reports. That official had previously investigated similar occurrences, referred to as "streeting," in which people are released from temporary detention orders without having been treated; the investigation found that a lack of available beds was cited as a big reason in many of those cases. Meanwhile, Creigh Deeds has been upgraded to good condition, the Washington Post reports. Not much further insight about Gus is available, though two people close to his dad confirm to the Post he had been struggling with mental illness for years. The sheriff's office also confirmed going to the home the day before the incident on a "non-emergency call for assistance," but didn't confirm that the call involved transporting Gus to his psychiatric evaluation.

My Take on This Story
Show results without voting  |