A Message from the Police Chief – Current Status of In-Custody Death Investigation
The Fairfax County Police Department’s in-custody death investigation of Natasha McKenna remains active and our updates are provided to our community to facilitate a transparent understanding of the complex stages of conducting a professional and thorough criminal investigation in this matter. The following are updates pertaining to the investigation to date:
The Fairfax County Sheriff’s Office staff are fully cooperating with the investigation. Fairfax County Police Department detectives have conducted over 50 interviews. These interviews include Sheriff deputies involved in the event and those who were witnesses, other inmates who may have been witnesses, Office of the Sheriff medical staff, fire and rescue personnel, and other medical staff. These interviews are extensive, and as with the gravity of a death investigation, additional follow-up interviews are required as the evidence is reviewed by the detectives to ensure we develop a full and complete review of every involved person’s actions in this matter. We are also ensuring we have gathered all the witnesses to this event as well as those who may possess information related to the event.
Members of the media and community have inquired about access to the video evidence of this event. As crucial evidence, the video continues to be used by our detectives during the interview phases and review stages yet to come. Additionally, as we prepare the investigation for submission to the Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney for review, the video will continue to be evidence and it may be needed for additional investigation steps during the legal review. Therefore, release of any evidence before the conclusion of the criminal review process can jeopardize any follow-up interviews.
An autopsy was performed shortly after Ms. McKenna’s death; however, the Office of the Medical Examiner has not yet determined the cause of death. Once the death investigation is complete, the evidence, which includes the medical examiner’s report, any audio or video recordings, witness statements, and any other collected items, will be turned over to the Fairfax County Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney for determination of criminal liability.
As in other cases handled by the Major Crimes Division, the investigation of Ms. McKenna’s death will be detailed and thorough. Detectives continue to work full time to complete a comprehensive case for legal review. Your police department is committed to providing timely information as it becomes available.
Previous news releases regarding this case are available here.