Mentally Ill NC Inmate Died of Thirst, Autopsy Shows

Michael Anthony Kerr

An outraged Invanhoe, N.C., woman is demanding answers after her mentally ill brother was shown to have died from dehydration while serving time, WNCN reports.

Last week Brenda Liles told reporters that anyone involved in her brother’s death should go to jail. That was the same Friday that seven people, including nurses and a captain, were fired and two more individuals resigned, the state Department of Safety confirmed, according to the news station.


“Anybody that had a hand in murdering my brother, they need to go to jail,” Liles told WNCN.

According to the report, Kerr, who was serving 31 years for larceny and assault on a 2011 habitual-felon conviction, was pronounced dead in March after he was transported from Alexander Correctional Institution in Taylorsville, N.C., to Central Prison. An autopsy confirmed that his death was due to dehydration.

The autopsy also revealed that Kerr had symptoms that pointed to schizoaffective disorder, but noted that he was not being treated for the mental-health issue. Liles told reporters that her brother had shown signs of illness ever since his two sons were murdered. She had been hoping that he would be helped in a mental facility, not a prison.

Central Prison has a mental unit, but when Kerr arrived at the location he was unresponsive, the news station reports.


“I was calling the prison and fighting for my brother. They said they were going to get him some medical attention, but they didn’t do it,” Liles said.

According to WNCN, Kerr had been separated from other inmates from Feb. 5-25 in “administrative segregation,” before he was put into “disciplinary segregation” from Feb. 25 to March 12.


Kerr had reportedly flooded his cell twice during that time frame. WNCN notes that there is a policy that allows prison staff to deny inmates access to water through the sink and toilet for “misuse of plumbing.”

However, according to David Guice, the state commissioner of Adult Correction and Juvenile Justice, water to Kerr’s cell had not been turned off in the days leading up to his death, Raw Story notes.


Read more at WNCN and Raw Story.

Share This Story

Get our newsletter