The family of a man who died in the Box Elder County Jail last year has sued the jail's top officials, saying they knew the inmate was suicidal and failed to save his life.
Box Elder County Sheriff Lynn Yeates, Deputy Chief Kevin Potter and jail commander Maggie Bull are among the defendants named in the lawsuit filed this week in U.S. District Court.
On. Nov. 9, family members of Chad Peterson, concerned about the man's drug use and mental health in the wake of his sister's death, contacted police, who took Peterson to the jail where he "would be in a safe place," according to the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court.
The next day, the 26-year-old Peterson was found dead. He had tied a bed sheet to the top bunk in his cell and hanged himself, police said.
Jail officials, who had reportedly been told Peterson might be suicidal, were negligent in protecting him, the lawsuit alleges. The suit seeks undetermined damages for Peterson's death.
Earlier this week, the Box Elder County Sheriff's Office released the findings of its investigation into Peterson's death.
"There is no evidence of any improper or criminal behavior associated with Mr. Peterson's death," officials said in their report. "All of the policies and procedures of the Box Elder County Jail were properly followed."
The investigation included an autopsy by the Utah State Medical Examiner and was reviewed by the Cache County Sheriff's Office and the Box Elder County Attorney's Office.
Box Elder County officials could not be reached for comment Wednesday night, but Yeates offered his sympathies to Peterson's family in a prepared statement released this week."Mr. Peterson's death has been troubling and very concerning to all of those involved," he said. "Sincere and heartfelt condolences are expressed to the family and all of those affected by this loss."
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