Homicide investigation launched after detainee's death - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Homicide investigation launched after detainee's death

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His body was cleaned up and his clothes fresh. That's why the chief medical examiner initially believed the detainee found dead at the prison's Hagatna facility had died from natural causes. No doubt raising a question of a possible cover up into last Friday's the beating. Investigators now are saying they are looking into the detainee's death as a homicide investigation.  

A DepCor detainee is beaten to death. Chief of Police JI Cruz said, "We believe that the injuries that the detainee sustained are consistent with the and assault that occurred on that individual." He and DOC director Tony Lamorena say the criminal and internal affairs investigations are in its early stages...

So, how did 33 year old Manson Isar die? The chief medical examiner says after the autopsy he determined the cause was a crushed chest and a laceration to his liver.

Dr. Aurelio Espinola initially thought Manson died from natural causes telling KUAM that there was no blood in his cell or on his body. Manson was also wearing a fresh pair of clothes when he was found unresponsive in his cell last Friday. Officers had been conducting their morning routine range checks at the time. "Headcounts are conducted at least every hour and range checks are conducted every 30 minutes - that's the standard policy," said Lamorena.

Investigators says they are taking the case very seriously. Chief Cruz noted, "My criminal investigators, my homicide detectives are still conducting interviews as we speak however they have interviewed the cell mates of the individual detained and there are more interviews to be conducted before we can definitively say who the suspects may be."

Two others were being detained in Manson's cell. "Interviews continue to be conducted with detainees, officers and staff regarding the circumstances of the incident," he said.

As we reported, Manson was arrested last December on charges of home invasion and 1st degree criminal sexual conduct. He is accused of raping a young woman who has Down syndrome. "The DOC deals with individuals who have committed crimes. Our officers on a daily basis go through the stress of trying to protect the community from these violent criminals together in one area even makes the situation more volatile," he said.

It's a situation that prompted a dual investigation by both law enforcement agencies early last year. It was in March 2017, detainee Justin Meno was brutally beaten at the post 6 max unit in Mangilao. The last time a similar incident like this occurred was in May 2010. A fight between two inmates turned deadly. Inmate Steven Albertson admitted to killing inmate Arlen Feranco.

Lamorena responds to the two recent attacks happening under his watch in less than one year, saying, "If we had all the manpower we could get or a newer facility with modern technology that other states and prison's have then we could probably do a better job in securing those within the facility. But we make do with what we have."

Meantime, DOC is working with the FSM consulate to track down the Chuuk native's family.

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