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Woman on life support after apparent hanging at Detention Center

Kristy Dawn Jenkins was found by deputies hanging from a sheet on a partition in a bathroom

April 11, 2012|By DAN DEARTH | dan.dearth@herald-mail.com
  • Kristy Dawn Jenkins
Washington County Sheriff's Office

A Clear Spring woman is on life support at Meritus Medical Center  after she apparently attempted to hang herself Wednesday morning at the Washington County Detention Center, according to county  Sheriff Douglas Mullendore.

Kristy Dawn Jenkins, 25, of 11815 St. Paul Road, was found by deputies at about 6:30 a.m. hanging from a sheet on a partition in a bathroom at the jail, a Washington County Sheriff’s Office news release said.

She was revived by cardiopulmonary resuscitation and taken to Meritus Medical Center east of Hagerstown.

Mullendore said Wednesday afternoon that Jenkins was being kept alive by artificial means.

He said Jenkins was examined by medical personnel shortly after midnight and didn’t show any signs that she was suicidal, but did complain of chest pains.

Jenkins got up with the rest of the inmates Wednesday morning and ate breakfast, Mullendore said.

She was fine when deputies made their rounds at 6:30 a.m., but  was found about 30 minutes later hanging from a bed sheet that was attached to a partition that separates toilets in the bathroom of Female Housing Unit 2, the sheriff’s office said.

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“Condolences go to the family,” Mullendore said. “No one likes to see these kinds of things happen.”

As a result of the incident, the jail probably would reduce the intervals at which deputies check on prisoners, Mullendore said.

But no matter what measures are taken, a prisoner can attempt to commit suicide if he or she is determined to do it, he said.

“You can do something like that in five minutes if you want to,” Mullendore said.

Jenkins was in a dormitory unit with four other women. The other four women had gone back to bed after eating and did not acknowledge being aware of the hanging, Mullendore said.

“Typically, inmates have nothing to do and sleep for long periods of time,” he said.

Jenkins was taken to the detention center on Monday for a probation violation, the sheriff’s office said.

She was being held on a $5,000 bond.

While she was incarcerated, Jenkins was charged with one count each of theft of $1,000 to under $10,000, and theft of less than $100, according to the sheriff’s office and statement of charges filed in Washington County District Court.

Those charges were filed in connection with a case in which Jenkins was accused of stealing a Martin acoustic guitar valued at $1,300 and pawning it for $50, the charging documents said.

Although the guitar was pawned in November, the sheriff’s office didn’t prepare the application for the statement of charges until Tuesday.

The incident marked the third hanging incident at the jail in less than two years.

On May 23, 2011, Brayan Alejandro Mora-Castro, 22, of 351 S. Burhans Blvd. in Hagerstown, was taken to Meritus Medical Center after deputies found him hanging from a bed sheet that was attached to a sprinkler head in his cell. He later died.

Mullendore said at the time that Mora-Castro was left alone for about 30 minutes because he chose to stay in his cell when the rest of the inmates went to dinner.

On June 1, 2010, a woman attempted suicide by hanging herself with a sheet on a swinging door that led to the shower area of a dormitory housing unit at the jail. She survived.

Editor's note: This story was edited April 16, 2012, to correct Jenkins' hometown.

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