Homeless man, 57, dies in fourth day of detox at Virginia Beach jail

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Francis P. Charette, 57, was pronounced dead early Sunday after being found unresponsive in the detox unit of the Virginia Beach Correctional Center.
Francis P. Charette, 57, was pronounced dead Sunday after being found unresponsive in the detox unit of the Virginia Beach Correctional Center.

A 57-year-old man was pronounced dead Sunday after being found unresponsive in the detox block of the city’s jail, according to the Virginia Beach Sheriff’s Office.

Francis Phillip Charrette was found unresponsive on his bunk at 12:15 a.m. on Sept. 25, according to a release. A correctional officer called for medical help and a nurse started CPR at 12:17 a.m. Four other medical staffers joined the effort, which included using an AED and calling for an ambulance.

Charrette was pronounced dead at Sentara Princess Anne Hospital, the release said.

Charrette was booked into the Virginia Beach Correctional Center on a traffic offense on Sept. 21. He also faced a charge for felony possession of a Schedule I or Schedule II drug, the release said.

Schedule I controlled substances, which have high potential for abuse, include heroin and marijuana, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. Schedule II drugs include cocaine, fentanyl, Vicodin, methamphetamine and methadone.

The Virginia Beach Police Department declined to comment on what drug or drugs Charrette was in possession of when he was arrested on Sept. 21.

Given a medical screening, his prior history and the nature of the charges, corrections staffers placed Charrette into the detox unit for treatment and observation. He was in the fourth day of a nine-day protocol used by the jail for detoxing inmates, according to the release.

Correctional officers did not detect signs of distress from Charrette before his death, including during the 11 p.m. headcount, the release said.

Charrette’s death remains under investigation. Investigators from the Virginia Beach Police Department have ruled out suspicion of foul play, according to the release.

Charrette was homeless and from out of state, according to an email from Kathy Hieatt, public information officer for the sheriff’s office. The office delayed releasing information about his death until Wednesday while the police department tried to locate his next of kin, which they were not able to do.

Anyone who may know how to contact Charrette’s family is encouraged to call the Virginia Beach Police Department at 757-385-4101.

Online records from Virginia Beach District Court show 20 cases against Charrette dating back to May 2012, for offenses ranging from begging and public intoxication to sleeping in public, trespassing and open container violations.

His felony possession charge had been slated for a preliminary hearing on Nov. 4, 2016.