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Harford man who was found hanging in jail dies

Suicide

A 21-year-old man who was found hanging in a cell in the Harford County Detention Center earlier this month died Saturday, the county sheriff's office confirmed.

Christopher Scott Kelley, of Street, was in the detention center for a violation of probation in a case he was charged with second-degree assault, Harford County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Monica Worrell said.

Kelley was found hanging in his cell around 11:30 p.m. on Jan. 14. He was first transported to Upper Chesapeake Medical Center in Bel Air and later to the Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore, where he died a week later.

Kelley didn't show any indicators that he needed to be on suicide watch, Worrell has said previously.

Kelley was released from custody last week, after he was placed on life support in the hospital, Worrell said.

Kelley was the second person incarcerated in the Harford jail to die within the past two months.

Michael Ray Malpass, 27, of North East, was being held at the detention center in Bel Air in connection with five robberies throughout several counties when he died on Nov. 25, 2011. He was found unresponsive in his cell and was pronounced dead at a local hospital.

The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner has ruled Malpass died of natural causes related to complications from drug abuse, Worrell said.

Since 1990, there have been 17 inmate deaths in Harford County, according to Worrell, including seven since current Sheriff Jesse Bane took his post in late 2006.

Bane commented on the incident Tuesday evening, mentioning that they not only have mental health staff at the detention center but also train the deputies to notice any suicidal signs in inmates so they can be put on a constant watch.

He also noted there are a lot of sick people coming into the jail, both physically and mentally.

"Obviously it's a tragedy any time we have a death in the jail," the sheriff said. "We do everything we possibly can to keep the population in the jail safe, but sometimes we come up short on our efforts."

They are always looking for ways to prevent deaths in the jail and looking for things they may have missed, Bane added, but he also said jail deaths are not peculiar to Harford County and happen everywhere. Other places, however, are not as transparent as Harford County when it comes to confronting these issues, he said.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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