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Lawsuit over death of former DEA official in St. Louis County jail settled for $865,000

Lawsuit over death of former DEA official in St. Louis County jail settled for $865,000

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ST. LOUIS COUNTY — A federal judge on Tuesday approved the final portion of an $865,000 settlement of a lawsuit over the death of a former Drug Enforcement Administration official in the St. Louis County jail. 

Larry "Jay" Reavis, 51, died in the jail on Jan. 18, 2019. The lawsuit, filed by his widow Tamara Reavis, said jail staff were negligent and "indifferent" to Reavis' medical needs and his obvious symptoms of alcohol withdrawal.

In December, a partial settlement of $550,000 was paid on behalf of four county Department of Public Health nurse employees who had been named in the lawsuit.

Another $315,000, approved on Tuesday, will settle the case against St. Louis County, a correctional officer and the jail's former acting director, Julia Childrey, now Julia Murphy. The second settlement amount was confidential and sealed from public view, but the Post-Dispatch obtained it and the settlement Wednesday via an open records request.

The settlement does not admit wrongdoing or fault for Reavis' death. 

Tamara Reavis' lawyers did not return messages seeking comment Wednesday.

Larry "Jay" Reavis

Larry "Jay" Reavis, 51, of Des Peres, a former assistant special agent in charge of the DEA St. Louis Division, was found dead in the St. Louis County jail infirmary on Jan. 18, 2019. Reavis had been arrested on suspicion of domestic violence.

The St. Louis County Medical Examiner said Reavis, of Des Peres, died of alcoholic liver disease from chronic alcohol abuse and hypertension.

Des Peres police had arrested Reavis on Jan. 17 on suspicion of domestic violence. A Clayton police report about the death said he was being held in the infirmary and “on watch” because he was detoxing from alcohol consumption, had been visibly shaking and mentioned a "seizure" to another inmate in the hours before he was found dead.

Reavis was a former assistant special agent in charge of the St. Louis division of the DEA.

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