HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (AP) -- A medical examiner's report indicates that physical restraint contributed to the death of a patient at a state-run psychiatric hospital.
The Associated Press reports that a death certificate for 29-year-old Matthew Allen Pike says the cause of death was probable cardiac dysrhythmia. The death certificate cites physical restraint in the hospital for agitation associated with clinical psychosis.
Pike died at Mildred Mitchell-Bateman Hospital in Huntington on Dec. 28, 2011. The state Department of Health and Human Resources said at the time that two hospital employees were suspended.
West Virginia State Police Sgt. G.N. Losh says the agency is awaiting an official copy of the medical examiner's findings. The findings and the results of the State Police's investigation will be given to the Cabell County prosecutor.
Matthew Pike, 29, a patient at the hospital, died there last month.
Family and friends said they hoped standing outside in falling temperatures would help them get some answers.
"We need to get answers and we want to get closure," Pike's uncle Mark Pike said. "We just want to get it behind us and go on and we always forgive, but we won't forget.
Cabell County Prosecutor Chris Chiles tells WSAZ.com the case remains under investigation.
We now know the victim's name is Matthew Pike, but his family wants folks to know so much more.
They want others to know what a loving, caring young man he was, and that he didn't deserve to die at the age of 29 at a facility that was supposed to be caring for him.
“He loved to paint,” said Penny Pike, Matthew’s mother.
Like most moms, Penny loved her son, Matthew, and was proud of his achievements. She either rode the bus or walked an hour and a half to see him daily at the Mildred Mitchell-Bateman Hospital in Huntington.
“He was always so happy,” Penny said.
That included Christmas Day -- the last day she saw her 29-year-old son alive. Three days later, he was dead. She got the call just three hours after talking to him on the phone.
“He was laughing and was in a good mood,” Penny said.
“Twenty-nine is too young to die,” said Mark Pike, who is Matthew's uncle.
The family is hurting for their loss and angry at the lack of information about how this happened.
“They're not saying anything," Mark said. "They won’t tell us anything."
Matthew's family says he's long been a victim. He was born with severe mental retardation and autism. They also say he had a fascination with fire that landed him in jail in 2003.
A search of our WSAZ archives showed Matthew was arrested and charged with arson for setting his own house on fire. He and his mother were inside at the time.
As a result of that case, Matthew was committed to a state mental hospital in Weston, W.Va., where he's been for the last eight years up until two months ago. That's when he was transferred to Mitchell-Bateman in Huntington.
“I miss his laugh, I miss seeing him. I miss everything,” Penny said.
West Virginia State Police are investigating the case. They have surveillance video of the incident, but they can't release that tape at this time.
They're awaiting the details of the autopsy, hoping that will indicate the cause of death.
State Police Sgt. Robert Perry told us the incident involved two Mitchell-Bateman Hospital employees. Both have been suspended pending the outcome of the investigation. That's the hospital's standard protocol following any incident.
Sgt. R.D. Perry tells WSAZ.com there was an incident on December 28 at the hospital.
According to Perry, the incident happened in a hallway and it involved a patient and two employees.
The patient was pronounced dead at a local hospital.
The patient's body has been sent off an autopsy. A preliminary cause of death has not been reported.
Perry tells WSAZ.com there is video of the incident, but it is not being released at this time.
The two employees have been suspended, which is protocol in a situation like this.
We made a call to Mildred Mitchell Bateman Hospital, but no one was available Monday to comment.
Perry says at this time, no charges have been filed.
The hospital is a state DHHR psychiatric hospital.
Hospital officials contacted the police on Dec. 29, 2011, after viewing security tapes. Two employees involved with the patient have been suspended pending the investigation. The body has been sent to the State Medical Examiner’s Office.