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Update No. 2: VSP BCI Troop A West – St. Albans / Death investigation involving inmate






CASE#: 23A2004302

RANK/TROOPER FULL NAME:  Detective Sgt. Angela Baker

STATION: Vermont State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigations Troop A West – St. Albans

CONTACT#: 802-524-5993


DATE/TIME: 7:25 p.m. Wednesday, July 26, 2023

INCIDENT LOCATION: Northwest State Correctional Facility, St. Albans, VT

INCIDENT TYPE: Death investigation


VICTIM: Shawn Gardner

AGE: 37




The Vermont State Police has received the final autopsy report from the Chief Medical Examiner's Office in Burlington regarding the death of 37-year-old Shawn Gardner. Following completion of toxicology testing, the medical examiner determined Gardner's cause of death was acute mixed drug intoxication involving fentanyl, xylazine and cocaine, and the manner of death was an accident due to the use/ingestion of illicit substances.


Anyone with further information about this case is asked to contact Detective Sgt. Angela Baker at the St. Albans Barracks at 802-524-5993, or provide an anonymous tip online at



***Update No. 1, 1 p.m. Thursday, July 27, 2023***

The Vermont State Police investigation is ongoing into the death of an inmate Wednesday at the Northwest State Correctional Facility in St. Albans. The inmate is identified as Shawn Gardner, 37, of Newport.


VSP's initial investigation and examination of the scene found Gardner was in possession of an unknown substance prior to his becoming unresponsive. Toxicology testing will occur as part of Gardner's autopsy at the Chief Medical Examiner's Office in Burlington; these tests can take several weeks to several months.


Gardner was a federal inmate housed in a segregated unit within the correctional facility. He initially was detained Tuesday, July 25, at Northern State Correctional Facility in Newport and was transferred to the St. Albans prison prior to a hearing Wednesday, July 26, in federal court. Shortly after returning to Northwest State from the hearing, Gardner collapsed in the shower area and was subsequently pronounced dead.


No further information is available from the state police at this time. VSP will provide updates as the investigation continues.



***Initial news release, 10:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 26, 2023***

The Vermont State Police is investigating the death of a man who had been jailed at Northwest State Correctional Facility in St. Albans. The man, a 37-year-old resident of Vermont, became unresponsive in the shower area at the facility at about 6:35 p.m. Wednesday, July 26, 2023. Corrections staff provided emergency medical care and called first responders to the prison. Lifesaving efforts were unsuccessful, and the inmate was pronounced dead at Northwest State at 7:22 p.m. Wednesday.


Following standard procedure, the Department of Corrections notified the Vermont State Police of the death at approximately 7:25 p.m., and a detective responded to Northwest State to perform a death investigation. Preliminary information obtained by VSP indicates the death is not suspicious, but the circumstances remain under investigation. An autopsy including toxicology testing will be performed at the Vermont Chief Medical Examiner's Office in Burlington to determine the cause and manner of death.


VSP will release the individual's name as the investigation progresses and following notification of next of kin.


No additional information is currently available. The investigation is ongoing, and the Vermont State Police will provide updates when possible. Further questions should be directed to the Department of Corrections.


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