Report details why “Gus” Deeds was released

Warm Springs, VA

The Office of the State Inspector General has released the report on the events of November 18, 2013 that led to the release of Austin “Gus” Deeds from a psychiatric emergency custody order in Bath County.

Twenty four year old Gus Deeds was released after being held under a six hour emergency custody order because a bed in a psychiatric facility could not be found for him before the order expired.  The next morning Gus Deeds stabbed his father, Virginia State Senator Creigh Deeds, multiple times.  Then Gus Deeds took his own life.     

The report says the evaluator from the Rockbridge Area Community Services Board provided a list of ten psychiatric facilities that were contacted while trying to locate a bed for Gus Deeds.  Phone records show that the evaluator contacted only seven of the facilities, but not the other three.  Those three facilities all denied they had been contacted in the search for a bed and of those three, two of them had beds available that day.  The investigation also found that those three facilities did not get information via fax, even though the evaluator said information was faxed to them.  Also, clinically significant information provided by a family member of Gus Deeds was not included on the preadmission screening report prepared by the evaluator.      

The evaluator called Rockingham Memorial Hospital in Harrisonburg, Virginia and waited on hold for two minutes for the psychiatric admission team, before hanging up.    The evaluator also faxed information to that hospital twice, but the faxes were never received because the fax number on the evaluator’s list was incorrect.  Rockingham Memorial was one of the two facilities that had an available bed.

And the report says that the screening process time for Gus Deeds was really only 3 hours and 15 minutes out of the six hour emergency custody order time period.  That was due to delays in the notification of the Rockbridge Area Community Services Board and the travel time involved for the evaluator to then get to Bath County.

The report also says that the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services had not implemented recommendations from 2012 from the Office of Inspector General Emergency Services Report.  Among those recommendations were a notification procedure for when emergency custody orders are issued and a procedure for ensuring that beds are found for people who meet the criteria for temporary detention.

The evaluator found that Gus Deeds met the criteria for more evaluation and temporary detention.  When the emergency custody order expired the evaluator requested that Gus stay until a bed could be found, but he refused. 

The investigation was conducted by the Virginia State Police and no criminal charges will be filed.

Story By

Bonnie Ralston

Bonnie Ralston is the Assistant Station Coordinator at WVLS and a Highland County news reporter. She began volunteering at Allegheny Mountain Radio in the fall of 2005. In 2006 she became an AMR employee and worked in Bath County for eight years as the WCHG Station Coordinator and then as the news reporter there. She began working in radio while in college and has stayed connected to radio, in one way or another, for more than thirty years. She grew up in Staunton, Virginia, while spending a lot of time on her family’s farm in Deerfield, Virginia. She enjoys spending time outside, watching old TV shows and movies and tending to her chickens.

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