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Mysterious Illness Leaves Two Dead, Two More Hospitalized at GEO’s Val Verde Detention Center

San Antonio Express-News reporter Don Finley is reporting that a mysterious illness has killed two prisoners and hospitalized two more at the GEO Group’s Val Verde Detention Center. All four of the prisoners -- three foreign nationals and a county inmate -- were healthy when they entered the facility.

The 850-bed lockup holds prisoners for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the U.S. Marshals Service, and Val Verde County. According to the story, the inmates’ “symptoms began with erratic behavioral changes, followed by incontinence and dehydration.” The Texas Department of State Health Services is leading the investigation into the inmates’ deaths, and has requested help from the Center for Disease Control.

As we’ve reported, the Val Verde Detention Center has been subjected to two well-publicized lawsuits. In a 2005 suit, an employee reported that his superior displayed a hangman’s noose in his office and took pictures in his prison uniform donning KKK garb. The second lawsuit was brought by a civil rights organization on behalf of the family of LeTisha Tapia, a detainee who committed suicide after reporting that she had been sexually assaulted and denied medical care. GEO settled both suits.

Last month, the state of Idaho announced that it would be moving prisoners to Val Verde this fall from GEO’s Dickens County prison after an inmate suicide at that lockup, and an Associated Press article described conditions there as “squalid.”

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Hm, it seems really strange. Does it have something to do with the Death Note story, lol?