Another victim is named in suspicious deaths at Clarksburg VA

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Another veteran who died under suspicious circumstances at the VA hospital in Clarksburg has been identified.

Archie Edgell

The death of Archie D. Edgell, 85, of Barbour County is being investigated, his family’s lawyer told MetroNews.

Previously named as suspected victims were Vietnam veteran Felix McDermott and retired Air Force veteran George Shaw. The death of each veteran was ruled homicide following autopsies.

Another veteran, John Hallman, was identified last week by USA Today. His family has been contacted by the Inspector General for the Veterans Administration because Hallman died under suspicious circumstances.

Lawyers for the victims’ families say there are at least 10 suspicious deaths at the Louis A. Johnson VA Medical Center in Clarksburg under investigation.

“How many people have to die before someone says ‘Hey, what’s going on here?'” asked Dino Colombo, a lawyer working for the Edgell family.

The FBI and the Inspector General for the Veterans Administration have been investigating the deaths. No arrests have been made so far.

Officials from the hospital have said said no one currently working there is under investigation.

The autopsies for McDermott and Shaw determined that they died after being injected with unprescribed insulin, which made their blood sugar crash. Each of the victims was treated on 3A, a unit on the hospital’s third floor.

Edgell’s circumstances were very similar.

He went to the VA hospital in Clarksburg in March, 2018,  beginning the process of a transfer to the nearby VA nursing home.

“He wasn’t dying. He wasn’t even close to dying,” Columbo said on MetroNews’ “Talkline.”

Yet he died after three days at the hospital.

He had dementia and was diabetic, but there was no order for him to receive insulin, Colombo said.

Months later, investigators with the Veterans Administration’s Office of Inspector General came to the house where Edgell had lived with his son, Steve, and daughter-in-law, Amanda.

Steve said, “They killed him didn’t they?” Colombo recounted.

He had already been identified by the OIG as a suspicious death. After the Edgell’s gave permission, his body exhumed Dec. 11, 2018, and taken to Dover Air Force Base for an autopsy.

The autopsy identified four injection sites on his thigh and arm where he had been given insulin.

The autopsy concluded, “These findings are strongly suspicious for unprescribed insulin administered during hospitalization.” But the autopsy also said Edgell’s cause of death was “undetermined.”

The death has not officially been ruled a homicide, Colombo said. Further investigation, including an examination of tissue samples, has been ongoing, the lawyer said.

“I think we’re going to find out this was a sinister plan,” Colombo said, adding that he spoke today with U.S. Attorney Bill Powell.

Edgell grew up in Doddridge County, was drafted into the Army in 1953 and served two years. He was stationed in Germany.

He spent 20 years of his working life with the Street and Water Commission in Salem, Harrison County.

Edgell was married to his wife, Francis, for more than 60 years. She died within the past year. Steve Edgell told Colombo the cause of his mother’s death was a broken heart.

“Their overriding issue is this: They don’t want people to forget what has happened,” Colombo said.

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