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Sheriff's Office: Virginia Beach inmate commits suicide

It is the second suicide reported at Virginia Beach Correctional Center in 2020. Before that, the last inmate suicide at the jail was 10 years earlier.
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VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — The Virginia Beach Sheriff's Office is investigating after it says one of its inmates died by suicide on Monday.

The Sheriff's Office said that while preparing for the evening headcount at the Virginia Beach Correctional Center, a deputy sheriff was alerted by inmates that someone was unconscious in a jail cell.

The deputy found 48-year-old Scott Anthony Eckenrode unresponsive, and immediately began to render aid.

Jail medical staff, along with Virginia Beach Fire and Emergency Medical Services, also responded, but were unable to revive Eckenrode, who was pronounced dead at 5:13 p.m.

“Any death in custody is a tragedy. We will fully investigate and review our suicide-prevention policies to ensure we are doing everything we can to protect the people entrusted to our care. We also welcome an outside investigation by the Virginia Department of Corrections,” Sheriff Ken Stolle said in a statement. “One of the most difficult challenges we face is protecting people from themselves and we are always looking for ways to improve. My sincere condolences go out to Mr. Eckenrode’s family for their terrible loss.”

Eckenrode was being held without bond after being booked into the jail on October 3, on charges of misdemeanor driving while intoxicated (first offense, B.A.C. .15-.20), felony eluding police, and felony destruction of property.

Authorities said Eckenrode had been given a full medical and mental health screening and reportedly gave no indication that he was suicidal at any time during his incarceration.

The Sheriff's Office also said he was not in quarantine, had two roommates, and was housed in a pod with other inmates. At the time of his death, the pod was not on lockdown and the cells were open to the common areas. 

Eckenrode was last checked on by a deputy during a routine security check at 4:25 p.m.

His death is being investigated by the Virginia Beach Police Department and Virginia Beach Sheriff’s Office. As required, the incident will also be reported to the Virginia Department of Corrections, which reviews all in-custody deaths and has the authority to investigate. 

Eckenrode's cause of death will be determined by the medical examiner's office, and the Sheriff's Office said foul play is not suspected.

This is the second death by suicide reported at the Virginia Beach Correctional Center this year. Prior to that, the jail reported no suicides in the previous 10 years.

If you are or someone you know is struggling, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.