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Manchin: Person of interest no longer in contact with vets at Clarksburg VA center

Joe Manchin AP file

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va.

The person of interest in a series of suspicious deaths at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Clarksburg is no longer in contact with the hospital, U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin said Monday.

Manchin did not provide any information as to what capacity the person of interest was interacting with veterans at the Louis A. Johnson VA Medical Center in Clarksburg, where VA officials are investigating 10 or 11 suspicious deaths that took place near and prior to April 2018.

Officials with the Veterans Affairs Inspector General’s Office are investigating deaths at the VA Medical Center in Clarksburg, according to a claim filed by the family of a veteran who died at the hospital.

In the claim, the family of Ret. Army Sgt. Felix “Kirk” McDermott said a deputy medical examiner with the U.S. Department of Defense determined the nature of the Vietnam veteran’s death was homicide.

The medical examiner determined McDermott, 83, died on April 9, 2018, as a result of being injected with insulin even though he was not diagnosed with, nor being treated for, diabetes. McDermott’s family said he had been admitted to the hospital to be treated for pneumonia.

In the claim, McDermott’s family said they learned of the investigation into the other deaths when VA officials disinterred McDermott’s body six months after he died to conduct the autopsy.

All of the deaths are believed to have been caused by someone injecting insulin into the patients’ abdomens, causing fatally low blood sugar levels, according to the claim.

In his statement Monday, Manchin said he had talked to United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert Wilkie and with Dr. Glenn Snider Jr., director of the medical center, “to make sure that their investigation into these deaths is accurate and thorough.”

Manchin said the men assured him the person of interest in the case “is no longer in any contact with veterans at the VA facility.”

Manchin is a member of the U.S. Senate Veterans Affairs Committee.

“I will do everything in my power to investigate these accusations and get to the bottom of what happened,” Manchin said. “These families and loved ones deserve answers as soon as possible and I will make sure they get them.”

Reach Lacie Pierson at

lacie.pierson@wvgazettemail.com, 304-348-1723 or follow

@laciepierson on Twitter.

Funerals for Monday, October 21, 2019

Good, Lawrence - 2 p.m., procession to leave Keller Funeral Home, Dunbar.

Janney, Paul - 1 p.m., Culloden Cemetery, Culloden.

Jarrett, Myrl - Noon, Wilson-Smith Funeral Home, Clay.

Martin, Naomi - Noon, Koontz Funeral Home, Hamlin.

Piercy, Brenda - 10 a.m., Wallace & Wallace Chapel, Rainelle.

Pugh, Ruth - Noon, Duffield Cemetery, Duck.

Smith, Anna - 2 p.m., Wallace & Wallace Chapel, Rainelle.

Vance, Ruby - 11 a.m., Casdorph & Curry Funeral Home, St. Albans.

Workman, Janet - 1 p.m., Gilgal United Methodist Church, Mt. Nebo.