By Margaret Voelzke
Gov. Bob McDonnell has asked for an investigation into why state Sen. R. Creigh Deeds’ son was released from emergency custody 13 hours before he stabbed his father and killed himself at their Bath County home, several news organizations reported Wednesday.
According to The Daily Progress in Charlottesville and CNN, McDonnell is calling for an investigation of the mental health procedures that led to Austin C. “Gus” Deeds being released after his emergency custody order expired on Monday. The state office of the inspector general for behavioral health confirmed it was looking into the matter.
Police say the younger Deeds stabbed his father repeatedly early Tuesday morning, then fatally shot himself. The elder Deeds sustained injuries to his head and torso, and he was airlifted to the University of Virginia Medical Center. He was listed in good condition Thursday.
According to The New York Times, Gus Deeds was ordered to receive psychiatric evaluation sometime Monday.
Dennis Cropper, executive director of the Rockbridge Area Community Services Board, told news organizations that the emergency custody order allowed Gus Deeds to be held for several hours to determine whether he should be kept longer, up to 48 hours, under a temporary detention order. But because of a shortage of available hospital beds, Gus Deeds was released when the order expired.
But officials at hospitals in Staunton, Harrisonburg and Charlottesville told The Daily Progress that they had space for psychiatric patients when Gus Deeds was evaluated. Each said no one from the Rockbridge agency called them to inquire.
Meanwhile, Rockbridge area residents continued Thursday to struggle with the tragedy that struck a family many knew. Deeds has represented the Rockbridge area in the House of Delegates and the state Senate since 1992.
“Creigh has always been a hometown boy,” said Lexington Mayor Mimi Elrod. “Although he [has] not always lived here, he is so loved and respected by so many people.”