A 24-year-old Virginia man is said to have died of “natural causes” after he was found dead in his jail cell early Wednesday morning.
Jamycheal Mitchell was arrested and jailed after allegedly stealing just $5.00 worth of Mountain Dew, Snickers and Zebra Cake from a local 7 Eleven back in April.
Mitchell, who family members say was bipolar and suffered from schizophrenia, was denied bail and charged with petty larceny and trespassing for the alleged theft.
While an autopsy is still pending, Master Jail Officer Natasha Perry says there weren’t any signs of injuries on Mitchell’s body and he appeared to have died of natural causes.
Family members suspect Mitchell may have starved to death.
The Guardian: “His body failed,” said Roxanne Adams, Mitchell’s aunt. “It is extraordinary. The person I saw deceased was not even the same person.” Adams, who is a registered nurse, said Mitchell had practically no muscle mass left by the time of his death.
In May, a judge ordered Mitchell to be sent to a mental hospital since he wasn’t competent enough to stand trial. However, the hospital said they had no vacancies.
The clerk said that typically in such cases “we do an order to restore the defendant to competence, send it to the hospital, and when the hospital has a bed, we do a transportation order, and he’s taken to the hospital.” Whitlow reiterated the order on 31 July and was due to review the case again on 4 September, according to the clerk.
But the hospital said it had no vacancy and the 24-year-old was therefore detained in jail until his death on 19 August, according to Adams, Mitchell’s aunt, who said she had tried to assist the hospitalisation process herself but was left frustrated.
“He was just deteriorating so fast,” she said. “I kept calling the jail, but they said they couldn’t transfer him because there were no available beds. So I called Eastern State, too, and people there said they didn’t know anything about the request or not having bed availability.”
When asked which state agency was ultimately responsible for ensuring Mitchell was transferred to the hospital, the court clerk said: “It’s hard to tell who’s responsible for it.”
Meanwhile, nobody can figure out why the hell Mitchell wasn’t given bail to begin with.