DURHAM — A police investigator found stolen electronic equipment in a backpack carried by 17-year-old Jesus Huerta, who died in custody Nov. 19.
The backpack also contained jewelry, according to a search warrant released Tuesday.
Information on the backpacks contents was contained in a probable cause statement asking for permission to search a cell phone in Huertas possession at the time of his arrest.
Huerta died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to his head while handcuffed in the back seat of a police cruiser, according to police. He had been arrested on an outstanding warrant for trespassing after his family asked police to watch for him after he walked away from home following an argument.
According to the warrant, the backpack and cell phone were seized as evidence at the scene of Huertas death, in the Durham Police Headquarters parking lot. Officer J.E. Barr went through the backpack contents Dec. 31 and found the jewelry and electronic equipment. Serial numbers on the electronics matched those of items stolen Nov. 14 from a residence on Haverford Street.
Three other, unsolved break-ins in the same area, near Huertas home on Washington Street, were committed in the same manner as that on Haverford Street, the warrant states.
In the warrant, Barr states he wants to search the cell phone because pictures and other digital evidence may be contained in cell phones that link a suspect(s) to a crime.
Barr applied for the warrant Monday, but, according to documents released with it, the warrant inadvertently included a provision to seal it for 90 days to protect the ongoing SBI investigation. The Durham District Attorneys office requested that it be unsealed after a magistrate questioned the provision for sealing.
Durham Mayor Bill Bell said Monday that the city will release findings of the Police Departments internal investigation into Huertas death this week.
Huertas family has requested a federal investigation into the teenagers death and general policies and procedures of the Durham police.