The Durham County Sheriff’s Office is awaiting an autopsy report from the state Medical Examiner’s Office in its investigation of an in-custody jail death on Jan. 19.
Matthew Lamont McCain, 29, was found unresponsive in a cell. The detention staff and medical personnel performed CPR until EMS arrived, but paramedics could not resuscitate him. The agency notified the State Bureau of Investigation and submitted an in-custody death report to the Secretary of Health and Human Services within five days.
In compliance with the standard protocol, investigators have conducted a comprehensive investigation and now await the completion of the final autopsy report which could lead to a further review of the case if needed.
“Our investigation has gone as far as it can pending the completion of the autopsy,” Sheriff Mike Andrews said.
On Feb. 5, inspectors with the Jails and Detention Unit of the NC Division of Health and Service Regulation have conducted a scheduled review of Mr. McCain’s death at the Durham County Detention Facility. The state review is standard procedure following an in-custody death. State inspectors listed one deficiency in its inspection report. The state mandates detention officers observe each inmate at least twice during the same hour. Inspectors found only one round was conducted during the 9 p.m. hour Jan. 18, and only one round was conducted during the 2 a.m. hour on Jan. 19.
In its Plan of Corrective Actions Response to DHHS, the Sheriff’s Office explained that the detention officer completed his security rounds within a 60-minute time span, but not within the same hour. A memo re-emphasizing the proper procedure for conducting security rounds within the same hour was issued to the entire staff. State inspectors made note of a similar deficiency in 2013 following an in-custody suicide.
All detention facilities in North Carolina are subject to inspection following an in-custody death. State inspectors also audit the facility twice a year. They will conduct two unscheduled inspections at the facility this year.Andrews has requested an independent inspection of the detention facility by the National Institute of Corrections. The NIC’s inspection date is pending.