Creigh Deeds’ son sent home from mental hospital 24 hours before stabbing

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BATH COUNTY, Va. (WTVR)--As tragic truths come to light about what happened inside the home of state senator Creigh Deeds Tuesday morning, a new focus centers in on the role mental illness plays.

Published reports and confirmation from family friends of the Deeds indicate that Deeds' son Gus was served an Emergency Custody Order.

An ECO means his behavior indicated he was a danger to himself or others so he was ordered to have a mental evaluation. The Bath County Sheriff also confirmed with CBS 6 that deputies made a visit to the home on Monday.

Henrico Sheriff Mike Wade often sees folks in situations like Deeds who end up in the custody of his deputies.

"Sometimes we can guard someone for ten to twelve hours before they can find a bed for them,”  Wade said.

Wade contends that an ECO can present a difficult situation because legally authorities only have four hours to evaluate someone and place them in a facility before that person is free to walk away.

"You know you're really stuck with violating the law because the law says you can only hold them for four hours," said Wade.


CLICK VIDEO FOR TUESDAY 11 P.M. UPDATE: Deeds' condition, investigation, and recap


Wade says across the state of Virginia there is a significant shortage of resources for mental health patients, specifically when it comes to finding a bed in a facility. Wade claims his deputies will regularly drive several hours to transport someone to the closest available bed in the state.

Just a year ago, the Virginia Office of the State Inspector General examined the frequency with which temporary detention orders are not issued because there is not a facility to accept the patient.

During the 90-day period, the office found that 72 people were turned away despite the fact that they met the criteria to be involuntarily held for treatment.

In Gus Deeds’ case, there was no bed to available, so he could not be held involuntarily past four hours.

We contacted Rockbridge Area Community Services facility in Lexington Virginia, where it is believed that Gus deeds was evaluated.

Executive director Dennis Cropper first expressed his condolences to the Deeds family. We then asked if a bed shortage could have been why Gus Deeds was sent home, Cropper wouldn't give specifics, but did offer an explanation for the four hour rule.

“Within those four hours, if a mental health professional determines that they need a psychiatric bed space, they have to use those same four hours to locate a receiving facility," Cropper said.

"In certain conditions a two-hour extension is granted by a magistrate, but under no circumstances can a person be held beyond six hours involuntarily under an ECO."



  • Wayne

    I pray for the family.

    This is a truly sad event. I hope doctors will work harder the next time they get a patient like this ….

    How do we help fix this problem?

    PS thank you for blogging this. I wanted to blog on it, but I just do not feel like I can do it justices right now.


    • Valerie

      This is untrue and playing fast and loose with the language. There is a big difference between an ECO and a TDO. The ECO is an Emergency Custody Order, basically referring an individual for an evaluation at a CSB FOR the TDO. Once a TDO is obtained, they can be held for 48 hours involuntarily until they have a hearing regarding further committment. You CANNOT release someone from a TDO based on bed availibility, they can be kept in an ER under guard overnight. I should know- I’ve run the hearings.

      It doesn’t matter if he was high- he can be TDO’ed if he is a danger to himself or others- having an official diagnosis doesn’t matter. This is a tragedy, but IMHO, someone in the family didn’t want the TDO done for personal reasons.

      He was NEVER seen by a doctor because he never made to a hospital- read all the words! He’s not a unique case to the field of Psychiatry and bed availability has nothing to do with it! This is personal- not a failure of the mental health system. They SHOULD have gone ahead with the TDO.

      • Dustin Cavanaugh

        If it’s untrue then how come they say it happened 72 times in a 90 day period? I am sorry but you sound like you think you know more than you do. Nothing good comes from spreading rumors about such things.

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