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Judge orders mental exam for man charged with child neglect, abuse

Bryan Reyes Rivera

WOODSTOCK – A Prince William County man charged with child abuse, who also refused to eat or drink while in a hospital, must undergo mental evaluations.

Bryan Jared Reyes-Rivera appeared in Shenandoah County Circuit Court on Wednesday with one of his attorneys, Alison Neal. Reyes-Rivera, 26, of Dumfries, stands charged with one count each of abuse or neglect of a child resulting in serious injury and child endangerment.

A grand jury indicted Reyes-Rivera on the two felonies in March that indicate he was the parent, guardian or person otherwise responsible for the care of the child. The indictments state the alleged offenses took place either Jan. 20 or 21, 2017. The Woodstock Police Department handled the case. Other details were not available Wednesday. Reyes-Rivera was arrested in Prince William County shortly after his indictment.

Defense attorney Michael Araj filed a motion in the circuit court on Monday seeking a psychological evaluation to determine Reyes-Rivera’s competency to stand trial as well as his sanity at the time of the alleged offense.

Judge Dennis Hupp granted the motion, noting that asking for both kinds of evaluations would take longer to complete than just the competency exam. Hupp ordered Reyes-Rivera to undergo the examinations and scheduled a status hearing for July 11.

Araj stated in the motion that defense counsel received notice that their client had been put on suicide watch while incarcerated at Rappahannock-Shenandoah-Warren Regional Jail and that Reyes-Rivera was transported to Western State Hospital. His attorneys then tried to visit the defendant at the hospital but were informed he was taken back to the regional jail. Araj states he tried to visit Reyes-Rivera at the regional jail on April 18 but was informed the inmate was at a hospital. That afternoon, defense counsel received an order from Shenandoah County Circuit Court directing hospital staff to provide health care to the defendant, the motion states.

“Based on the defendant’s mental health situation, counsel believes an evaluation for competency and sanity at the time of the offense is necessary,” the motion states.

The order signed by Hupp dated April 18 states that a report from the RSW Regional Jail states that Reyes-Rivera “continues to refuse sustenance in the form of either food or water, this being injurious to his health and well-being and ultimately life-threatening.”

“In view of the possible consequences of his conduct, it is the opinion of this court that emergency measures are warranted, and the Court does hereby order and direct the staff at RSW Regional Jail or other facility in which he is housed to administer or cause to be administered, via healthcare services or otherwise, fluids and nourishment to the Defendant by ‘central line’ (or) other appropriate means as necessary to preserve his health and well-being, notwithstanding his objection or refusal to cooperate,” Hupp’s order states.

An order signed by Hupp dated April 6 indicates that Reyes-Rivera had begun to refuse to eat or drink water at the jail more than a week before the most recent incident.

A letter from Doris Kessler, a forensic administration specialist with the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services, to Hupp dated April 20 states that Reyes-Rivera was admitted to Western State Hospital via a temporary detention order. The letter states that the special justice serving the hospital held a hearing and committed the defendant to the facility for up to 30 days.

Online records with the RSW Regional Jail also indicate Reyes-Rivera was being held on a charge of violating a protective order issued in Shenandoah County Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court.

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