An inmate was found dead inside the Clark County Jail early Wednesday after apparently committing suicide.
Deputies found the man, identified as Sean Patrick Watson, 55, of Vancouver, unconscious during a routine bed check at about 1:25 a.m., said Sgt. Fred Neiman, sheriff’s spokesman. Watson was booked into the Clark County Jail Tuesday night at 11:07 p.m. on suspicion of possession of more than 40 grams of marijuana, a felony offense, Neiman said.
Custody staff, firefighters and paramedics attempted to revive Watson but were unsuccessful.
Watson’s cause of death was asphyxia due to hanging, Neiman said. The Clark County Medical Examiner’s Office determined the manner of death was suicide.
The Clark County Regional Major Crimes Unit and the sheriff’s Internal Affairs Unit are investigating.
Suicide attempts at the jail have more than doubled since 2007, according to a June report by Auditor Greg Kimsey.
Medical costs have increased from $2.7 million in 2007 to $3.2 million last year.
In 2009, a mentally ill inmate died from an overdose of generic Prozac and his family sued the county and Wexford Health Sources Inc., the county’s former medical contractor for the jail. The county and Wexford settled, with each paying the family $175,000.
Last year, 18 inmates attempted suicide and one inmate died. Two inmates have committed suicide this year and a third inmate died in February. In July, Clark County Medical Examiner Dr. Dennis Wickham ruled the death was a homicide from asphyxia while being restrained by custody officers.
That inmate, Marius Asanachescu, had bipolar disorder and had been awaiting transfer to Western State Hospital for a competency evaluation.
Clark County Prosecutor Tony Golik said this week he’s waiting for more information from Vancouver Police Department detectives assigned to investigate Asanachescu’s death before he makes a decision on whether he will file criminal charges.
Columbian staff writer Stephanie Rice contributed to this story.