Virginia Beach Correctional Center inmate dies by suicide
An inmate at the Virginia Beach Correctional Center died by suicide yesterday evening.
While preparing to begin the evening headcount, a deputy sheriff was alerted by inmates to an unconscious individual in a cell. The deputy immediately responded and rendered aid to the inmate, Scott Anthony Eckenrode, 48, of Virginia Beach. Despite receiving medical attention from the deputy, jail medical staff, the Virginia Beach Fire Department and Virginia Beach Emergency Medical Services, medics declared Eckenrode deceased at 5:13 p.m.
Eckenrode was booked into the Virginia Beach Correctional Center on Oct. 3, 2020, on three charges: misdemeanor driving while intoxicated (first offense, B.A.C. .15-.20), felony eluding police and felony destruction of property. He was denied bond by a magistrate and Virginia Beach General District Court. Eckenrode received a full medical and mental health screening and gave no indication that he was suicidal at any time during his incarceration. 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.
As with all in-custody deaths, the incident 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. No foul play is suspected.
The cause and manner of death is determined by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Norfolk.
The Virginia Beach Sheriff’s Office has been a leader in jail suicide-prevention efforts: establishing direct observation rooms for inmates at risk of attempting suicide, training all deputies in crisis intervention techniques and ensuring that suicidal individuals are never housed alone unless on direct observation. All inmates receive comprehensive medical and mental health screenings during the intake process. The screenings look for symptoms of mental illness and examine their past and present mental status, history of depression and suicidal tendencies. Every inmate is asked:
• Do you feel depressed at this time?
• Do you have anything to look forward to in the immediate future?
• Have you recently experienced a significant loss?
• Are you thinking of hurting or killing yourself?
• Have you considered suicide in the last three months?
• Have you ever attempted suicide?
• Has a family member/close friend every attempted or committed suicide?
Deputies have intervened in nine suicide attempts in the Virginia Beach Correctional Center this year and 14 suicide attempts last year, saving the lives of every individual involved. The last in-custody death by suicide was in August 2020, the first at the jail since March 2010.
“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,” said Sheriff Ken Stolle. “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.”
Any questions or requests for additional information from the news media may be directed to Kathy Hieatt, Public Information Officer: firstname.lastname@example.org or 757.570.9123 (cell).