Prisoner Dies at Two Rivers Correctional Institute, His Family Wants Answers They Aren’t Getting
On Sunday, Feb. 19, the family of Edward Dungan and members of Pacific Northwest Family Circle held a protest under the billboard they rented at 7th and Blair in Eugene.
Dungan was convicted and sentenced to 20 years in prison for the 2018 shooting of an Oregon State Trooper. He died of unknown causes at Two Rivers Correctional Institution, on Jan. 8, not long after being transferred there from the Oregon State Penitentiary in Nov. 2022.
His family has not received answers as to how he died.
The family’s attorney, Carl Post, said in a statement to DSM that: “It is our understanding he was held in a ‘dry cell’ for approximately 78 hours and died while in that confinement.”
“No official cause of death or details have been provided. The family deserves to know what happened to Eddie, how this death occurred, and what medical care or other steps were taken to prevent his death,” Post said.
The Oregon Department of Corrections’ policy on dry cells —40.1.11—says “an adult in custody is placed on dry cell status to safely recover contraband, which is reasonably believed to be carried internally by an adult in custody.” The policy says that the person cannot be held on such status for more than 72 hours “unless authorized by the functional unit manager” and that they must be placed in a cell monitored by cameras or under direct supervision if a camera isn’t available.
Dungan’s sister, Christy Running, said that once she was aware of the 24/7 video surveillance while on dry cell status, she reached out to TRCI. Following repeated attempts from both herself and a family advocate, she said that she was told by Mackenzie Kath at the state inspector general’s office that she would not be able to view any of the surveillance videos because they could compromise the prison’s security and that an attorney would be needed.
“Eddie died in a dry cell that has 24hr surveillance after nearly 80 hours. How is that even possible?” she said. “I’m seeking answers, accountability, a policy change and maybe someday an apology from the DOC. He didn’t get the death sentence yet he somehow died on their watch? Doesn’t make sense to me.”
“A 36-year-old man with no medical issues prior doesn’t just die.”
Dungan’s family believes his death was the result of “medical neglect” or “intentional abuse of some sort” because TRCI “hasn’t been upfront on any of the details such as the Dry Cell Observation, the cause of death or autopsy result,” Running said. “Also there [was] severe facial [bruising] that the mortuary noticed and took photos of.”
Two days before the protest in Eugene, on Feb. 17, Running and her boyfriend drove to Oregon from Manteca, California after picking up her sister, Julie, in Modesto. The three drove 10 hours to hold their protest.
“The second of its kind that we’ve taken in the past 30 days,” according to Running. “On Jan. 19, I held his funeral here locally followed by our first protest in Salem at the Department of Corrections Office.”
The family is also putting up an identical billboard near the state capitol where 12th St. meets Union until March 1.
Pacific Northwest Family Circle, a volunteer-based community group that offers support and mutual aid to the families of individuals injured or killed by law enforcement in both Oregon and Washington, is helping the Dungan family during this time.
In a statement to DSM, PNWFC’s spokesperson, Rossi, said:
”No one should be killed by police. Eddie Dungan was in the custody and care of the state and was not incarcerated with a death sentence. It doesn’t matter what Eddie did to be incarcerated. It is the state’s responsibility to care for incarcerated people. Instead, we understand from Christy that officers said they observed he was not well and put him in a dry cell/isolation for over 70 hours, where they watched him die.”
“The family deserves to know what happened to Eddie, how this death occurred, and what medical care or other steps were taken to prevent his death,” Post, the family’s attorney, said in his statement. “However, the State of Oregon has refused to provide answers to the family. As a result, Carl Post and John Burgess, from the Law Offices of Daniel Snyder, have been retained to represent the Estate of Edward Dungan to investigate and pursue a wrongful death claim.”
The DOC’s communication manager, Amber Campbell provided a statement to DSM stating that Dungan’s death is currently under investigation by the Oregon State Police and, therefore, the agency will not provide any additional comment.
TRCI did not respond to DSM’s request for comment by publishing time. We will update this article if they do so at a later date.
This is an ongoing story.