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Autopsy to determine what caused death of inmate found in cell 

It is unclear whether a Bahamas Department of Correctional Services (BDOCS) inmate who was found dead in his cell on Monday died as a result of homicide or natural causes, Minister of National Security Wayne Munroe said yesterday.

Munroe noted that while the doctor who examined the man found injuries, an autopsy will determine the cause of death.

“The doctor will give what he observes, and he gave an observation of two indications; but as I say, we will wait to see what the pathologist says, the forensic pathologist Dr. Karen Sands,” the minister said. 

“She will do an autopsy. She will give an autopsy report and then we will know whether it was natural causes or homicide.”

Munroe said the victim, who was in his early 30s, was found dead around 8:30 a.m. He had been incarcerated for stealing.

“I was advised by the acting commissioner, Cleare, that the doctor had reported to him that there was an inmate who was found unresponsive in his cell,” he said.

“The doctor checked him. He provided a medical report. I can’t share the details of that at this time. He pronounced the inmate dead and he contacted the police and the coroner. And so, investigations would be proceeding at this time.”

Munroe said while improvements are needed at BDOCS, given the current reality at the overcrowded facility, it is difficult to have tighter security measures. However, he assured that if an ongoing investigation at the prison reveals improvements could be made, action would be taken along those lines.

“I don’t know what tighter security measures you could have,” he said.

“You have a prison that has a number of persons housed because of the prison population, persons are housed along with other people. You have a number of prison officers. We won’t be having a prison officer standing at each cell door watching the folk.

“So, you will have persons, it might be a death by natural causes, it might be a homicide, but we don’t react erratically and ad hoc.

“The prison puts in place systems that they rate as best to carry out the job. If something happens, then they will investigate, and so that’s why they are carrying out their investigations. If their investigations show that there can be an improvement in systems, then that will happen.”

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Rachel Scott

Rachel joined The Nassau Guardian in January 2019. Rachel covers national issues. Education: University of Virginia in Charlottesville, BA in Foreign Affairs and Spanish

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