Detainee that dies prompts investigation - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Detainee that dies prompts investigation

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 by Krystal Paco

Guam - An investigation is underway to determine how a detainee in a holding cell turned up dead just hours after his arrest.

It was 8:30 Sunday morning when officers from the Dededo Precinct arrested a 27-year-old man accused of assault, aggravated assault, and family violence.

Hours later, the man was found unconscious in his holding cell.

According to GPD spokesperson officer AJ Balajadia, the suspect was pending transport to the Hagatna Precinct for processing. At around twelve noon, officers noticed the man was non-responsive with what appeared to be his shoelaces tied around his neck.

Within the hour the man was pronounced dead at the Guam Memorial Hospital. The incident has investigators reviewing precinct cameras directed at the holding cell for answers. "We do have cameras and I know that part of the investigation will be to determine whether or not those cameras are actually working and recording and that would definitely be a part of the investigation. We have both criminal investigations looking into this case. They're conducting a death investigation as well as internal affairs to make sure that all procedures are followed," he said.

Meanwhile, GPD's holding procedures will also be under review.

"I believe based on this particular incident, the bureau chief will probably take a look at formulating some type of policy as a standard for all the precincts that have holding cells. On what they should be doing in regards to confiscation of shoelaces and maybe necklaces and other things that could be used to hurt themselves in the holding cell," he added.

Balajadia tells KUAM that officers have no reason to believe a suspect is suicidal unless told by family members.

Although their protocols differ, department of corrections spokesperson Jeff Limo says DOC requires detainees to be stripped of their personal items, including their shoelaces. Detainees also undergo a screening of questions to determine whether they have the intent to hurt themselves. If so, the detainee will be placed on observation until they can meet with the prison psychologist.

An autopsy will be conducted on Tuesday by chief medical examiner Dr. Aurelio Espinola.
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