Investigation of 3 Muscogee County Jail deaths continues

benw@ledger-enquirer.comJanuary 28, 2014 

Muscogee County Sheriff John Darr answers questions from the media. 11/09/13

MIKE HASKEY — mhaskey@ledger-enquirer.com

The deaths of three Muscogee County Jail inmates that occurred over a two-week period remain under investigation by the Muscogee County Sheriff’s Office and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

Sheriff John Darr said he has no idea when the reports on Maurice Grier, 21, Lori Carroll, 46, and Issac Kindred, 57, will be completed. Grier and Carroll died between Oct. 24 and Nov. 9 after falling ill at the jail. Kindred was allegedly beaten by another inmate during that same time period.

The sheriff said the department is still awaiting the toxicology reports in the deaths of Grier and Carroll.

The GBI was called in to investigate Kindred’s death and officials also will look into the other two deaths. Darr said he isn’t aware of any developments in the Kindred investigation.

“I haven’t seen anything,” he said last week during a visit to the Public Safety Center.

Wayne Smith of the GBI said the investigation is ongoing and agents have made a lot of progress.

“We still have a couple of interviews to do,” Smith said Tuesday. “They are being very thorough with those.”

Smith said he doesn’t know when the investigation will be completed. The GBI has been a little bit inundated with similar cases and law enforcement shootings in other places.

“It is just taking a while because of that,” he said. “We are back and forth from one case to another.”

The string of deaths started with Carroll on Oct. 24. She was found unresponsive in her cell and pronounced dead some 40 minutes later. She had broken ribs, a punctured lung and wounds to her face. No cause has been given in her death.

Five days later on Oct. 29, Grier was pronounced dead from a brain aneurysm at Midtown Medical Center. No foul play was suspected but jail officials went to check on Grier after he banged on the window and complained that he couldn’t breathe and his head was hurting. He was unresponsive when taken to the hospital where a CAT scan revealed he had bleeding on his brain.

Kindred’s face was found covered in blood after fellow inmate Jeffrey McKinney was removed from the cell, officials said. The jail staff tried to revive the unresponsive inmate before he was pronounced dead by the Muscogee County coroner.

McKinney, who relatives said has been diagnosed with schizophrenia, is facing a murder charge in Kindred’s death. Since Oct. 25, McKinney had been jailed on aggravated assault, burglary, third-degree cruelty to children, peeping Tom and stalking charges.

Darr said the jail currently has about 1,080 inmates and many are on medication for mental issues. Most need to be at West Central Georgia Regional Hospital or the Bradley Center.

“They are being dealt with out here in a different setting,” Darr said. “The system itself I guess is unfortunate. Sometimes, most of them end up in jail.”

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