(AP) State investigators found no evidence that a mental health official tried to contact two facilities that had room to admit state Sen. Creigh Deeds’ mentally ill son hours before he attacked the senator and then killed himself, according to a report released Thursday.
The report of the Office of the Inspector General says investigators couldn’t verify a claim by the unnamed evaluator at Rockbridge Area Community Services who was tasked with locating a psychiatric bed for Gus Deeds last November.
The younger Deeds, 24, was released from an emergency custody order after the local community services board said it was unable to locate a bed in the area within the six hours allotted by law. Hours later, Gus Deeds stabbed his father multiple times at their rural homestead in Bath County and then shot himself.
The evaluator said he contacted 10 facilities in attempts to find space for Gus Deeds. But investigators said phone records and interviews only show seven facilities were contacted. Two of the three that say they weren’t contacted had open beds, according to the report.
Another facility the evaluator tried to contact also had space for Gus Deeds. Investigators found that the evaluator called Rockingham Memorial Hospital in Harrisonburg but hung up after being on hold for two minutes. The evaluator tried to send two faxes to Rockingham but had the wrong number.
Investigators also found that the evaluator “made inconsistent claims” about his actions last November when he was tasked with locating a psychiatric bed for Gus Deeds. The report said the evaluator contradicted himself during multiple interviews regarding whom he’d spoken and where he’d sent faxes while trying to locate a bed for Deeds.
A spokesman for Rockbridge Area Community Services did not immediately return a call seeking comment.
Creigh Deeds was the Democratic nominee during the 2009 gubernatorial campaign. The circumstances surrounding his son’s death have drawn national attention. Deeds did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
During this year’s legislative session, Deeds helped push through several changes to the state’s current mental health system. Most notably, the General Assembly approved legislation that extends the time allotted for finding a bed for those under an emergency custody order to 12 hours. If no private beds can be found after eight hours, a state hospital will now be required to admit.
The inspector general’s report was released Thursday shortly after Bath County Commonwealth’s Attorney John C. Singleton notified the Virginia State Police that he was not going to pursue criminal charges related to the case. The criminal investigation had delayed release of the inspector general’s report.
Earlier this month, a state investigator resigned over the investigation into the Deeds case.
G. Douglas Bevelacqua, former director of the Division of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services with the Office of the Inspector General, said supervisors had interfered with his work and the report had been subject to revisions to tone down his findings.
Inspector General Michael F.A. Morehart has said there was no undo interference.
– ALAN SUDERMAN, Associated Press