On Thursday, Georgia police said there is an ongoing investigation into September’s death of a jail inmate whose family says he was essentially eaten alive by bedbugs and other insects.
Lashawn Thompson, 35, died at Fulton County Jail after being housed there for three months for simple battery. The family’s attorney said Thompson was schizophrenic but was otherwise physically healthy when he entered the jail, according to WSB-TV.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that Thompson was found unresponsive in the jail’s psychiatric wing. The Fulton County medical examiner wrote that Thompson’s body showed no signs of trauma and deemed his death undetermined.
However, the report also noted that the jail had a “severe” bed bug infestation. Additionally, the family’s lawyer provided pictures that apparently show Thompson’s face and torso covered with bugs and bug bites. Other pictures reportedly show the filthy jail cell Thompson was housed in.
On Thursday, Fulton Sheriff Patrick Labat’s office said in a statement that an ongoing investigation would determine whether criminal charges will be filed in this case. The office also said “immediate action” was taken as a result of the investigation, including a $500,000 expenditure “to address the infestation of bed bugs, lice and other vermin” at the jail.
“It’s no secret that the dilapidated and rapidly eroding conditions of the current facility make it incredibly difficult to meet the goal of providing a clean, well-maintained and healthy environment for all inmates and staff. That is precisely why Sheriff Labat continues to call (for) building a new Fulton County Jail and Criminal Justice Complex, which will provide an elite level of care, mental health services, security and cleanliness,” the statement also said.
Meanwhile, a GBI spokesperson told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that the agency has not been called in to investigate.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that 64 people died at Fulton jail between 2009 and October 2022. According to WSB-TV, Thompson’s family wants a criminal investigation and for the jail to be replaced.
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[Featured image: Lashawn Thompson/Facebook]