VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WVEC) -- A Virginia Beach Correctional Center inmate passed away late Monday night, and no foul play is suspected.
Around 11 p.m. a Virginia Beach Sheriff's Office deputy and a medical technician attempted to wake 69-year-old Joseph Sisson Jr. to give him his medication.
Sisson did not respond despite resuscitation attempts by the jail medical staff and Virginia Beach EMS, he could not be revived.
He was declared deceased at 11:38 p.m.
The incident remains under investigation by the Virginia Beach Police Department and Virginia Beach Sheriff's Office.
According to the sheriff's office, Sisson was responsive when he was last checked on by a deputy around 10:40 p.m. That was 9 minutes before he was found unresponsive.
Sisson had pre-existing medical and mental health conditions, but there was no indication that he was in any medical distress leading up to his death.
The cause and manner of his death will be determined by the Medical Examiner in Norfolk.
Sisson was from Virginia Beach and he was booked into the correctional center on November 20, 2017. He was arrested on four misdemeanor charges: battery of a health care provider, disorderly conduct on hospital grounds, preventing a law enforcement officer from making an arrest (fleeing) and resisting arrest.
A statement has been released by Sheriff Ken Stolle:
Although we do not believe that mental illness was the cause of Joseph Sisson's death, it was the cause of his incarceration. A third of our inmates suffer from mental illness and most would be better served by treatment facilities. Unfortunately, Virginia's mental health system is broken and ill-equipped to help all those who need it. Until jails like ours are no longer the primary mental health providers for the community, we will continue to see tragedies like this occur. My sincere condolences go out to Mr. Sisson's friends and family.