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Autopsy finds inmate was a suicide victim Prisoner pushed mattress stuffing down his throat.

THE BALTIMORE EVENING SUN

An autopsy has determined that a 24-year-old inmate at the Baltimore County Detention Center committed suicide by pushing mattress stuffing down his throat, according to a spokesman for the state medical examiner's office.

Kurt Darrell Hayes, of the 5200 block of Pembroke Ave. in the city, died when the mattress stuffing obstructed his air passages, the spokesman said yesterday. He was pronounced dead after his body was discovered about 5 a.m. Thursday, under the bunk in an isolation cell.

Sheriff Norman Pepersack and Jail Administrator James M. Dean said Hayes had refused to submit to a physical examination or to leave the reception area when he was admitted to the jail. He was placed in a holding cell and later in an isolation cell about 7 p.m. Wednesday, Pepersack said.

Hayes was being held in lieu of $10,000 bail on charges of stealing milk, orange juice and a slice of pizza from a convenience store Feb. 12. He also faced traffic charges in connection with a car chase when he tried to escape from arresting officers, authorities said.

Officials said they had no warning that Hayes might be suicidal. He appeared to be asleep when he was observed by guards at 1 a.m. and 2 a.m., officials said.

Police investigators said there were no signs of trauma on Hayes' body. Pepersack said the mattress in the cell is "tough" and difficult to tear.

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