Apparent try at suicide in jail probed

Family not notified immediately of incident

July 10, 1999|By Dail Willis | Dail Willis,SUN STAFF

A 19-year-old Baltimore man jailed on the Fourth of July weekend on a violation of probation charge was found hanging in his cell in an apparent suicide attempt, and the incident is under investigation by police, authorities said yesterday.

Family members of the injured man have called for an investigation of the incident and have criticized Baltimore County Detention Center officials for failing to notify them until almost a day later -- a delay that jail officials say was caused by a records error.

Joseph Kevin Livesay, of the 600 block of Ellwood Ave., remained in critical condition yesterday at Maryland Shock Trauma Center after he was found hanging from a bunk bed Monday night at the detention center in Towson, authorities said.

Livesay's mother, Patricia A. Livesay of Essex, said she did not learn of her son's injuries until 21 hours after he was found, just before 7 p.m.

"I spoke to my son at 2: 30 on Monday," she said. "I was very worried about him, and if I thought he was suicidal, I would have notified them."

Livesay, who was arrested over the weekend on a violation of probation charge stemming from a conviction for theft and burglary, is a heroin addict who needs treatment, his mother said.

Although he had been severely depressed in the past as a result of withdrawal from the drug, he showed no signs of that over the weekend when they talked on the phone, she said.

Mrs. Livesay said medical personnel told her that her son had rectal injuries, making her suspect he was raped. Jail officials confirmed that Livesay had such injuries but said they could find no evidence that he had been assaulted.

"He attempted to hang himself," said Dorothy A. Williams, administrator of the Baltimore County Detention Center.

Pub Date: 7/10/99

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