Suspect in Henry County murder case dies in hospital custody

Published: Oct. 15, 2020 at 11:26 AM EDT
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HENRY COUNTY, Va. (WDBJ) - A woman who was a suspect in a Henry County murder has died in custody.

The evening of Wednesday, October 14, inmate Tanna Fitzgerald told deputies at the Henry County Jail she had taken an excessive amount of prescription blood pressure medication. The Henry County Department of Public Safety responded, according to the Henry County Sheriff’s Office, and took Fitzgerald to SOVAH Health Martinsville. The sheriff’s office said upon leaving the Henry County Jail and arriving at SOVAH Health, Fitzgerald was alert and coherent, and not displaying any signs of medical distress.

Early Wednesday morning, Fitzgerald, 54, died at the hospital. An autopsy was done at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner for the Western District of Virginia, and according to the sheriff’s office, preliminary results showed no obvious signs of trauma or foul play. The complete autopsy report is pending toxicology testing.

Sheriff Lane Perry says deputies conducted a search in her cell earlier this week, and they have a strict process of watching inmates take their medicine when given. So it’s not clear how Fitzgerald obtained the pills.

Perry says, “There have been instances where people very quickly hide it in their mouth or in some capacity get the pills back up and dry them out.”

The Henry County Sheriff’s Office Investigations Division is investigating, as is the Virginia Department of Corrections.

Fitzgerald was jailed in May for three felony charges connected to the murder of Pamela Morse. Fitzgerald was being held in the Henry County Jail without bond.

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