Five days after Feaginess Wood Jr. died after sustaining a head injury at the Muscogee County Jail, Sheriff Donna Tompkins said the superficial cut most likely didn’t cause Wood’s death.
Tompkins gave a brief update Thursday at the Government Center on the Saturday death of Wood and two other deaths of inmates since January. She asked the public for patience during a probe by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and to show restraint especially on social media, speculating on events and causes. The other deaths include the Jan. 24 death of Roger Tyler which was ruled a suicide and the April 29 death of Undra Williams, the victim of a heart condition.
“Speculation can be very dangerous,” Tompkins said during a 2 p.m. news conference. “ You think you know what happened and you very well may not. We don’t know all the facts and circumstances in this last death. Let’s be patient and let the GBI do what we called them here to ask them to do.”
Wood, 31, was pronounced dead at 8:38 a.m. Saturday in the emergency room at Midtown Medical Center after he was transported at 6:54 a.m. by ambulance from the jail. The inmate was observed in his dorm during a head count at 6:35 a.m. but the correctional staff was advised of some sort of medical emergency a short time later.
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Muscogee County Coroner Buddy Bryan said Wood had a cut to his forehead and a video shows he was in a cell with another inmate before he was found in a pool of blood.
“As of today, the cause of death at this time is unknown,” Tompkins said. “However, preliminary autopsy information indicates that the laceration to the head of Mr. Wood which was what we transported him to the hospital for was a superficial wound and most likely not the cause of death.”
Bryan said the autopsy on Wood was completed Monday but more information is still pending on histology and toxicology. Bryan said it’s possible the death the cut to the forehead may not have caused the death but he has no preliminary report yet. “That kind of information hasn’t been released to me,” he said.
The inmate was accused of blowing kisses and exposing himself to a 3-year-old girl on June 4 outside a house near Wynnton Road. He was charged with one count of child molestation and giving false information to law enforcement.
In Williams death, the inmate was booked into the jail on April 23 for driving while license suspended , having no insurance and obstruction of a law enforcement officer. He was found unresponsive in his bunk about 4:50 a.m. April 29. Staff attempted to revive him but was unsuccessful.
Tompkins said a preliminary autopsy report indicates he died of a ruptured aorta. Toxicology reports are still not completed but there was no indication of foul play, she said.
Tyler , 41, was found hanging in the shower at the jail before he was pronounced dead in the emergency room at Midtown Medical Center. The inmate was wearing a pair of pants he had been wearing, the deputy coroner said.
He was booked into the jail on Dec. 22 to face a count of criminal trespass and disorderly conduct charges.
Tompkins said all deaths are reviewed at the jail as they relates to health, mental and security.
One recommendation came after Tyler’s death. “The shower curtain we used, we could have a clearer spot in top so security might see,” the sheriff said. “That was a small recommendation that came out of that. It was taken to heart.”
Tompkins said she is concerned about all deaths at the facility and considered three a high number since January.
“Regardless of the circumstances for which these inmates were incarcerated, we want the public to know that our hearts go out to the families of each in these cases,” she said.