(CNN)The US Department of Veteran Affairs said Tuesday it is investigating 11 suspicious deaths at a medical center in West Virginia, prompting Sen. Joe Manchin to label them potential crimes.
The VA said it is looking into “potential wrongdoing” at the Louis A. Johnson VA Medical Center in Clarksburg. It would not provide details.Manchin, a member of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, said a “person of interest” is no longer in contact with patients at the facility. He said at least one of the deaths is a confirmed homicide.Last week, the family of Felix Kirk McDermott, an 82-year-old Army veteran who died at the hospital, filed a claim against the VA, according to USA Today. The body of McDermott, who died last year at the hospital, was exhumed and brought to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, according to USA Today.The veteran’s daughter, Melanie Proctor, told the newspaper, “I thought my dad was safe there.” She filed a wrongful death claim against the VA. Her father died in April 2018.Read MoreCNN has reached out to the McDermott family for comment. Wesley R. Walls, a spokesman for the Louis A. Johnson VA Medical Center, said “allegations of potential misconduct you may have heard about in media reports do not involve” any current employees.”Immediately upon discovering these serious allegations, Louis A. Johnson VA Medical Center leadership brought them to the attention of the VA’s inspector general while putting safeguards in place to ensure the safety of each and every one of our patients,” Walls said. In his statement, Manchin said he met with VA and hospital leaders to ensure a thorough investigation.”These crimes shock the conscience and I’m still appalled they were not only committed but that our Veterans, who have sacrificed so much for our country, were the victims,” the senator said.