CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WOWK) — U.S. Senator Joe Manchin is now renewing his calls for Congressional Hearings into the suspicious deaths of veterans at the VA Medical Center in Clarksburg. U.S. Attorney for the Northern District Bill Powell had asked Manchin to hold off, fearing public hearings could damage a federal criminal investigation. But Manchin’s patience has run out, and he wants on the record, Senate hearings as early as next week. There are 10 suspicious deaths so far, three classified as homicides, and a now-fired VA employee is under investigation.
“Veterans all across West Virginia contact our office and ask me, ‘How is the VA going to be held accountable for many obvious systematic VA issues that caused these murders to continue for at least six months that we know of?'” said Sen. Joe Manchin, (D) West Virginia.
But recently a VA health official wrote an op-ed in the Clarksburg newspaper and spoke with us, praising how the situation was handled, and that has infuriated Senator Manchin.
“We identified that there was a problem here. That employee was immediately removed from care, and it was turned over to the Justice authorities. We’re anxious for justice to be served. We delivered the accountability that we should have,” said Dr. Richard Stone of the Veterans Health Administration on Nov. 1, 2019.
“How in the world can they write an Op-Ed declaring that all is well and everyone has been held accountable at the VA if the investigation is still going on. It makes no sense at all,” said Sen. Joe Manchin, (D) West Virginia.
So far no one has been charged in this case.
“There is no rule saying that says Congressional hearings have to be held in Washington, D.C. It’s possible Senators could call a field hearing in West Virginia and hold it at a local courthouse, the State Capitol, or even inside one of the VA hospitals,” said Mark Curtis, 13 News Chief Political Reporter.