Police: Inmate attempted suicide

Man hospitalized after trying to hang himself with shoelace in jail shower

GREENFIELD — An inmate at the Hancock County Jail attempted to hang himself inside a bathroom at the facility Friday morning, officials said.

The man — whose name was not released — was arrested and brought to the jail around 10 a.m. Friday. He was being booked into the facility when the incident occurred, officials said.

After being searched by a jail officer, the man was left alone in a bathroom to shower before being taken to his cell, said Hancock County Sheriff’s Capt. Andy Craig, the jail commander.

The man had wrapped a shoelace around his neck and tied it to a knob in the shower, Craig said.

He was alone for less than 10 minutes before he was found by another inmate, who then alerted officers.

The man was rushed to Hancock Regional Hospital. He was responsive at the time, but had difficulty breathing, Craig said. He remained hospitalized at press time but is expected to recover.

Jail officials declined to release the name of the inmate involved or the charges he faces. His family was notified of the incident prior to information being released to the media.

When booked into the county jail, inmates are left alone to shower, Craig said. Inmates are required to use an antibacterial and lice-killing soap before being assigned to a cell block.

Inmates don’t wear their shoes to the shower, Craig said. The inmate smuggled the shoelace in, he said.

Officers said they noted nothing out of the ordinary about the man prior to the incident. Craig said investigators learned only later that the man had made suicidal comments to his estranged wife prior to his arrest.

The bathroom the man was using is located in the book-in area near the entrance of the jail. That area of the facility is manned by an officer 24/7.

He was found by an inmate worker — one of about six well-behaved, minimum-security inmates who are trusted to do chores around the jail — who entered to use the restroom without realizing someone was in the shower, Craig said.

Doctors had plans to transport the inmate from Hancock Regional Hospital to St. Vincent Hospital in Indianapolis for further evaluation, officials said.

At press time, Craig said he did not know whether the man would be returned to the local jail or if he would be taken to another facility.

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Caitlin VanOverberghe is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at 317-477-3237 or cvanoverberghe@greenfieldreporter.com.