A mentally ill man who was jailed for four months after stealing five dollars worth of snacks from a 7-Eleven store in Portsmouth, Virginia, was found dead in his cell from starvation.
According to reports, 24-year-old Jamycheal Mitchell was arrested in April after taking a bottle of Mountain Dew, a Zebra Cake and a Snickers bar from a Portsmouth 7-Eleven. The young man was placed in jail without bail, where he was held for months until guards reportedly discovered his body on Wednesday.
Mitchell was reportedly unfit to stand trial, according to a judge, and was supposed to be sent to a mental facility. The mental hospital, however, said they had no beds left. Despite facing only misdemeanor charges, Mitchell stayed in jail until his death.
The young man’s family claimed that his death was due to starvation after refusing to eat prison meals or take medication.
“His body failed. It is extraordinary. The person I saw deceased was not even the same person,” Mitchell’s aunt, Roxanne Adams, said. Adams told reporters that her nephew had been suffering from bipolar disorder and schizophrenia for five years.
“He just chain-smoked and made people laugh. He never did anything serious, never harmed anybody,” she said. Adams said that the family hadn’t been able to see Mitchell during his time in jail because they were not added to his visitor’s list.
When she did see him at a court appearance, however, Adams said he had lost 65 pounds and was “extremely emaciated.”
Prison officials denied having knowledge of Mitchell refusing meds or food, and have yet to offer an explanation as to why he was not given the opportunity to be freed on bail.