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Mecklenburg Co. jail inmate dies from apparent suicide, authorities say

Authorities said the inmate was booked into the detention center on April 15.
Authorities said the inmate was booked into the detention center on April 15.
Published: Apr. 20, 2022 at 5:22 AM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) – The Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the death of a jail inmate who died from apparent suicide.

According to authorities, 47-year-old inmate William Rhinesmith was found in his cell at the Mecklenburg County Detention Center shortly before 5 p.m. Tuesday.

After CPR was performed by facility medical staff and EMS, Rhinesmith was taken to the hospital and pronounced dead at approximately 5:58 p.m., officials said.

According to the sheriff’s office, there were no signs of foul play and all preliminary reports indicate he died from apparent suicide.

Rhinesmith was booked into the detention center on Friday, April 15, a news release stated. According to online jail records, he was booked for possession of a stolen motor vehicle.

“An in-custody death is always difficult for everyone involved; facility staff, medical staff, and emergency responders,” Mecklenburg County Sheriff Garry McFadden said. “We are extremely saddened to report the death of Mr. Rhinesmith and send our heartfelt condolences to his family and loved ones during this difficult time.”

The North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation will conduct an investigation as the medical examiner determines the official cause of death, the news release stated.

The announcement comes days after a lawsuit was filed against McFadden and other Mecklenburg County Detention Center employees by the mother of a 17-year-old who died by apparent suicide in 2020 while housed in the jail.

Related: Lawsuit: Mecklenburg Co. jail officials tried to falsify records after teen’s apparent suicide in cell

According to the lawsuit, jail staff failed to properly check on the teen despite him being on suicide alert and then falsified records to suggest they had checked on him at “proper intervals.”

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