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Funeral services set for prison employees; one officer released from hospital

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This undated photo made available by the North Carolina Department of Public Safety shows Corrections Enterprises Manager Veronica Darden. Authorities identified Darden as one of two employees killed Thursday, Oct. 12, 2017, during an attempted inmate escape from a North Carolina prison. Darden trained inmates making vests and other embroidered items. (North Carolina Department of Public Safety via AP)

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From staff reports

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Funeral services for two correctional officers killed in last week’s failed inmate escape attempt at Pasquotank Correctional Institution will be held this weekend.

Two public funeral services for Correctional Enterprise Manager Veronica “Ronnie” Skinner Darden are scheduled for Saturday, while a service for Correctional Officer Justin Smith will be held on Sunday.  

In a related development, one of three officers critically injured in the Oct. 12 failed inmate escape has been released from the hospital. Correctional Officer George Midgett was released from Sentara Norfolk General Hospital Tuesday night, a press release from the N.C. Department of Public Safety states.

Two other prison employees critically injured in the escape attempt, Correctional Officer Wendy Shannon and maintenance worker Geoffrey Howe, remain at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital. Ten other prison employees were treated at a local hospital and released.

The first service for Darden, 50, of Belvidere, will be held Saturday at 10 a.m. at the Mickey L. Burnim Fine Arts Center at Elizabeth City State University. Darden’s remains will be transported to the service by a horse-drawn caisson. A second service will be held at her church at Bay Branch A.M.E. Zion Church in Belvidere, Saturday at 2 p.m. 

A horse-drawn caisson will also transport Smith’s remains to the Fine Arts Center for his funeral service on Sunday at 2:30 p.m.

According to her obituary compiled by Mitchell Funeral Care and Cremations, Darden is survived by her husband, Eric; two daughters; her mother; a sister and two brothers; and other relatives.

Smith is survived by his mother, three brothers, one sister, and other relatives.

Mitchell Funeral Care and Cremations is handling funeral arrangements for both Darden and Smith. Online condolences may be shared by visiting www.mitchellcares.com.

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