HEMPSTEAD, Texas – The autopsy of a black woman who was found dead in a Texas jail revealed no injuries that would suggest she was killed by someone else, authorities said Thursday.
Waller County prosecutor Warren Diepraam said the autopsy showed that 28-year-old Sandra Bland had no defensive injuries on her hands that would typically indicate a struggle.
Some lacerations or abrasions were found on her wrists. Those were consistent with a struggle while being handcuffed. The marks around Bland’s neck were consistent with a suicide, Diepraam said.
Bland was arrested in a traffic stop three days before she was found hanging in her jail cell on July 13. Her family and friends dispute the official finding that she killed herself.
Texas Rangers and the FBI are investigating.
Also Thursday, the woman’s sister confirmed that Bland had taken prescription medication for seizures in the past.
Booking documents filled out for Bland after her arrest indicate she told staff at the jail that she had epilepsy and was taking medication for it. Other forms, however, say she was not taking medication.
Sharon Cooper told the Associated Press her sister suffered from seizures about a decade ago but had not had any in recent years and was not on medication.
One jail-intake questionnaire said Bland took pills in 2015 in an attempt to kill herself after losing a baby. A separate form filled out by another jail employee says the suicide attempt occurred in 2014.
Cooper said her sister had a miscarriage in May 2014, but got through it. Cooper also said she was not aware of any suicide attempt.
Preliminary autopsy results also showed that Bland had marijuana in her system and about 30 cuts on her wrist that were probably self-inflicted in the weeks before her arrest.
The drug-test results are worth noting because they could be “relevant to her state of mind,” Diepraam said.
Authorities said any contradictions in the jail documents were the result of Bland’s inconsistent answers to jail officials’ questions about suicide attempts or medication.
Shot mistakenly fired at military center
LANCASTER, Ohio – An armed civilian accidentally fired a shot from an AR-15 rifle into the pavement outside a military recruiting center in Ohio on Thursday but no one was hurt, police said.
The incident occurred days after armed citizens started showing up at military recruiting centers around the country to act as guards following last week’s killing of four Marines and a sailor in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
A police report said 28-year-old Christopher Reed was holding the rifle outside the recruiting station near the River Valley Mall in Lancaster, about 40 miles southeast of Columbus, at about noon when someone asked to look at the weapon. While Reed was clearing the ammunition from the rifle, he accidentally fired a shot into the pavement.
Reed was given a summons to appear in court on a misdemeanor charge of discharging a firearm within the city limits.
Citizens in many states, some of them private militia members, said they’re supporting the recruiters, who by military directive are not armed.
Officials say there is no indication such centers are in further danger, and the government isn’t changing how they’re staffed. But some governors have temporarily moved National Guard recruiting centers to armories and several – including Ohio’s John Kasich on Wednesday – have authorized Guard personnel to carry weapons at state facilities.
Retired detective may be ‘Snowbird Bandit’
RANCHO SANTA MARGARITA, Calif. – Authorities in California say a retired Los Angeles Police Department detective is the so-called Snowbird Bandit who’s responsible for a string of Orange County bank robberies.
Seventy-year-old Randolph Bruce Adair was arrested Wednesday in Rancho Santa Margarita in connection with five robberies this year.
The Orange County Sheriff’s Department said Adair’s family members contacted deputies indicating they had information about the robberies.
Adair was booked into the Orange County jail and is being held on $205,000 bail. Investigators say they intend to pursue federal charges.
Local journalism is essential.
Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.
Subscribe now to get breaking news alerts in your email inbox
Get breaking news delivered to your inbox as it happens.