State Police investigating inmate death at Southern Regional
BECKLEY, W.Va. (WVVA) - The West Virginia State Police is leading an investigation into the death of an inmate at Southern Regional Jail after a 19-day stay at the facility on Saturday.
Alvis Shrewsbury’s family claims he was beaten by other inmates in the pod prior to September 10, and suffered internal bleeding as a result. He died after being taken to Beckley Appalachian Regional Hospital (BARH) early Saturday morning.
Morgan Switzer, Counsel of the W.Va. Dept. of Homeland Security, released the following statement on Tuesday regarding the death:
“When an inmate dies in the custody of the West Virginia Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation, whether accidental or otherwise, steps are immediately taken to preserve the scene, notify the proper authorities, and thoroughly investigate the circumstances surrounding the death. Currently, the proper protocols are being followed, and the death you’re referring to has been turned over to the West Virginia State Police for further investigation.”
Meanwhile, Shrewsbury’s son, Justin Shrewsbury, said the family is reeling from the loss. “Why wasn’t he taken better care of while he was in there? His whole life was in their hands and gone in a flash.”
The family has retained attorney Robert Dunlap in the case, who is helping the family in their effort to secure an independent autopsy. Shrewsbury’s body is currently in the custody of the State Medical Examiner.
“What shocked me so much about Mr. Shrewsbury are the independent accounts from individuals we’ve talked to that discuss that someone like me, in their mid-40s, was beaten and attacked when he was going for food,” said Dunlap.
In the Spring, WVVA News filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to learn more about the deaths at the jail dating back to November of 2020. At that time, the cause of death was still pending in 10 out of the 13 cases.
Switzer also offered an update regarding leadership changes within the regional jail system on Tuesday, saying the position held by Commissioner Betsy Jividen, who resigned on August 5, has been temporarily filled by former Chief of Staff Brad Douglas.
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